Chelsea star, Hakim Ziyech has been excluded from Morocco’s latest squad because he held the group ‘hostage’ by refusing to play in a friendly, claims boss Vahid Halilhodzic.
The winger, 28, who he is Morocco’s most accomplished footballer having just won the Champions League with Chelsea, posted a laughing emoji sarcastically on Instagram following his snub, before coach Halilhodzic confirmed a bust-up with his star player.
‘His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be positive role model,’ Halilhodzic said, as per The New Arab.
‘He arrived late and after that he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see.
‘For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage.’
The ‘unacceptable behaviour’ that is referred to is believed to date back to Ziyech’s conduct when called up for friendlies back home in Morocco against Ghana and Burkina Faso in June.
Ziyech is accused of refusing to play against Ghana in the first game because of injury – despite the Moroccan team’s medical staff declaring him fit to play.
He added: ‘For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me. A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured.
‘The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play. He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute.
‘For me, that type of behaviour is unacceptable. You can’t cheat with the national team. You are 100 per cent there or you are not.’