NINE months since announcing his retirement from the Moroccan national side, Hakim Ziyech has made a sensational comeback by earning his place on the plane to Qatar.
Ziyech returned to the fold in Morocco’s September friendlies against Chile and Paraguay.
And despite the Chelsea forward struggling for form at club level, he was an integral puzzle piece in the African nation as they had developed into a promising side looking to fulfil their potential.
Now back in the team, Ziyech will be looking to add to his 18 goal tally he has amounted so far in 43 appearances alongside his impressive wonder strike against Georgia.
Why is Hakim Ziyech playing for Morocco again at the World Cup?
Ziyech was dropped from the side due to falling out with the former manager Vahid Halilhodzic who accused him arriving late, refusing to play and setting a bad example to the young players.
Halilhodzic claimed “Ziyech’s behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player.
“As a leader of the team, he has to be a positive role model.
“He arrived late, and then even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards – as a coach the answer is right there to see”
As the door looked locked on international retirement for Ziyech, the Moroccan FA announced the sacking of Halilhodzic just three months before the beginning of the World Cup due to ‘differences in opinions’ about the appropriate preparation of the team.
In his place came Walid Regragui and he re-introduced Hakim Ziyech into the sides starting eleven.
And Regragui has seen enough after three matches to gift Ziyech the opportunity of representing Morocco at the World Cup.