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Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech calls time on his international service in the wake of AFCON omission


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The realities of international football have come home to roost through frustration for star Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech after disappointment this window has led the Moroccan to make a critical and career-defining decision.

As reported by Football.London among various other outlets, Ziyech announced that he will no longer be available for selection for his country after being omitted from the squad by head coach Valid Halihodzic and failing to represent his country at AFCON2021.

Despite the Atlas Lion’s making a beeline for the semi-finals before losing out to Mohamed Salah’s Egypt and hardly missing Ziyech on account of their overall performance at the mid-season continental showcase, the Chelsea midfielder remains firm in his stance after his public war of words with Halihodzic and has now taken matters one step further.

Ziyech has not featured for his country since June 2021 and though he understood the position he is faced with, still chose to rule himself out for future consideration when making his decision final: “Obviously I understand them but I will not return to the national team. It’s my final decision and it’s all clear for me how things are going over there.”

“You know it’s all clear for me and I am focusing on what I am doing and that’s right now my club. At the end of the day, it’s a decision he makes and you have to respect it but if all the lines come with it, it’s for me clear and like I said before, I will not return to the national team.”

Ziyech to remain focused on Chelsea with an improved rate of return

One of the most talked-about transfer stories last season, Hakim Ziyech has hardly hit the level that many expected from the former Ajax Amsterdam star to rise to once he completed his move to Stamford Bridge, but perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel for the 28-year-old Dronten native.

Across 39-appearances last term the midfielder managed just 6-goals and 4-assists; total contribution figures far below what he proved capable of in Amsterdam.

Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech calls time on his international service in the wake of AFCON omission

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: Quincy Promes of AFC Ajax celebrates with Hakim Ziyech after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and AFC Ajax at Stamford Bridge on November 05, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

But thus far this season, he has already shown an uptick in return while hitting the same return (10-total contributions) but in fourteen fewer matches.

Given the struggles of a host of Chelsea attacking players, if Ziyech can hit a decent patch of form, he may start to finally repay the club on the pitch just as the Blues need an attacking spark as they have sunk ten points off table-topping Manchester City while winning just two of their last six in the Premier League.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 22 39 48
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Arsenal FC 21 8 36
7 Tottenham Hotspur 20 2 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Leicester City 20 -3 26
11 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 22 -3 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Watford FC 21 -17 15
19 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
20 Burnley FC 19 -11 13
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6

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