News Matches
World Cup

Morocco’s Regragui compares Ziyech to Neymar and Mbappe - All players can't be treated equally?

9:46 AM EST 12/7/22
Hakimi Ziyech Morocco
Morocco head coach Walid Regragui has compared Hakim Ziyech to Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
  • Regragui is highly impressed with Ziyech
  • He says the star player needs love
  • The Chelsea player is key to Morocco’s World Cup exploits

WHAT HAPPENED? The former Ajax forward has been in sensational form during the Qatar 2022 finals as the Atlas Lions march on.

After their 3-0 penalty shootout victory against Spain following a goalless draw in regulation and added time, Regragui lauded the star and compared him with the French and Brazilian forwards.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "What he’s doing is tremendous," the Caf Champions League-winning coach said after their Round of 16 win over La Roja.

"The Moroccan people wanted to see him and were encouraging him, and he responded to that. We need to give him responsibility, and he needs to be loved. It’s like Neymar for Brazil or [Kylian] Mbappe for France, you can’t just see him as another player, he’s your best player.

"Some coaches say all players should be treated equally, but that’s not the case. Hakim is not just another player, I show him love and respect because it’s what he deserves. Like Achraf Hakimi, the other players as well.

"They’ve shown they are prepared to give everything for the national team when they play."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Regragui’s choice to recall Ziyech – who had fallen out with former coach Vahid Halilhodzic – has paid off.

He provided the assist for the second goal against Belgium when they claimed a stunning 2-0 victory, scored against Canada when the Atlas Lions emerged 2-1 winners, and was one of the scorers in the penalty shootout against Spain.

Morocco are the only remaining African team in the 2022 competition.

Ghana, Cameroon and Tunisia failed to progress to the knockout stage from their respective groups. Senegal managed to but fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of England in the last 16.

WHAT NEXT FOR MOROCCO? After their impressive output so far, hopes continue to grow about their possibility to cause more World Cup upsets.

They will face Portugal in the quarter-finals on December 10.