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Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech quits Morocco team amid fallout with coach

Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech says he has no plans to return to the Morocco national team even if they qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, suggesting he has quit international football for good after a fallout with coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Ziyech has been involved in a war of words with Halilhodzic, who accused him of feigning injury to avoid playing for Morocco in mid-year friendlies last June. The player denies the accusation.

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It meant he was left out of the squad for the recent Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, with Halilhodzic suggesting he had no intention of selecting the attacker for the World Cup qualification playoff tie against the Democratic Republic of Congo in March.

“I will not return to the national team. That is my final decision,” Ziyech told reporters on Tuesday. “I am focussing on what I am doing with my club. It was a decision he [Halilhodzic] made and you have to respect it.

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“But then if all the lying comes with it, for me it is clear and I will not return to the national team.”

Ziyech was born in the Netherlands and was a junior international for that country, but switched allegiances to Morocco in 2015. He won 40 caps, scoring 17 goals.

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