'I won't tolerate it': National team coach says Chelsea player's done something he's never seen before

Hakim Ziyech felt the hard arm of his Morocco manager Vahid Halilhodzic after the Chelsea forward was left out of the latest international squad.

Speaking to the media yesterday (as relayed by Radio Mars), Halilhodzic brutally revealed the reasons why Ziyech was not currently serving his country.

A few eyebrows were raised when the 28-year-old was omitted from national duty for the World Cup qualifiers taking place over the next two weeks.

Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Morocco’s squad does include a few talented individuals, including former Chelsea target Achraf Hakimi, the curious Adel Taarabt and ex-Southampton trickster Sofian Boufal amongst others.

Yet, Ziyech is arguably the pick of the bunch.

Bad boy Hakim

But his quality on the field has clearly been let down by his attitude off it.

This is according to Halilhodzic, who hammered home how unhappy he was at the Blues attacker.

“He hasn’t been disciplined in the last two rallies and has refrained from training,” he said.

Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

“He didn’t look like a player from a national team fighting to qualify for the Cup World.

“For the first time in my coaching career, I saw a national team player who doesn’t want to train and claims to be injured, although tests have shown he can play.

“I won’t tolerate it.”

If true, this is a stain on Ziyech’s record, especially if it scuppers his chances of featuring at a World Cup.

His apparent undesirable manner comes as something of a surprise, especially from a Chelsea standpoint.

Insiders claim that when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge, his performances in training were exemplary.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

He was also reportedly a positive influence on the dressing room, despite starting pre-season in the treatment room.

Of course, over time, emotions and characters change.

Ziyech didn’t have the most revolutionary of debut campaigns with Chelsea and his second spell started off with a shoulder injury.

Perhaps he simply doesn’t like going away with his compatriots. It’s a common occurrence; some players pick club over country.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.