Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has responded to recent comments on the part of Moroccan national team boss Vahid Halilhodzic, amid suggestions that the 28-year-old had behaved in an ‘unacceptable’ manner whilst on international duty during the summer.
The name of versatile midfielder Ziyech of course caught the headlines on Thursday afternoon.
This came after the aforementioned Halilhodzic was drawn on his decision to leave the former Ajax man at home for his side’s latest round of World Cup qualifiers.
Morocco faced off with Sudan last night, with a meeting with Guinea to follow next Monday.
Amid such a crucial stretch in the nation’s efforts to clinch a spot at next year’s Qatar showpiece, it therefore came as a major surprise to see star man Ziyech completely left out.
Halilhodzic, though, was not at all shy in confirming the motives behind his decision.
The former Yugoslav international drew attention to Ziyech’s behaviour ahead of Morocco’s fixtures versus Ghana and Burkina Faso back in June, accusing the attacker of arriving late, refusing to work and even feigning an injury:
‘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 a positive role model.’
‘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.’
‘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% there or you are not.’
As outlined above, though, Ziyech himself was not prepared to accept the criticism of his national team boss without a fight.
In quick and none-too-subtle response on Thursday, the Chelsea star took to Instagram, to send the following message to Halilhodzic:
‘Next time when you speak speak the truth then…!!!’, accompanied by a clown emoji: