Who is Hakim Ziyash and how old is he and who is Hakim Ziyash's wife
A spaghetti lover who had a harsh childhood and "his blood is not orange".
Moroccan footballer, born in the Netherlands in 1993, chose to play for the Atlas Lions. His father died at a young age and suffered in his childhood, before finding his way to shine after his mother's desperation and the advice and help of his first coach.
Hakim Ziyech, nicknamed the "Moroccan magician", played ball in the streets, where he discovered his talent early. He then started his sports career in 2001 with the Dutch club Real Dronton. He was included in many teams there, until he moved to Ajax Amsterdam in 2016, and then Chelsea, where he has been playing since July 2020.
The 29-year-old had a harsh childhood after the death of his father, and as a teenager he turned to drug addiction. He then overcame difficult crises in his life, becoming a star, and one of the best players in his position in Europe.
The left-footer was nicknamed the "Moroccan jewel" and ranked the best Arab playmaker, but said, "I'm not the biggest star, I'm just doing my job on the pitch and trying to do the best for my country."
The spaghetti lover has no pre-match ritual, just wearing earplugs to cool down. When the Moroccan national anthem is played, he "looks down, tries to be focused and senses those cries coming from the audience," he said.
After the crises he experienced, the World Cup in Qatar is the window through which Ziyech broke into the football scene again. This is after he caught the eye in Doha with his fighting game, and his perfect and decisive passes.
Birth and upbringing
Hakim Ziyech was born into a poor family on March 19, 1993 in the town of Dronten, the Netherlands. The youngest of his nine siblings was from Moroccan parents, from the town of Tafogalt in the eastern Moroccan city of Berkane, who had immigrated to the Netherlands in 1967 in search of better living conditions.
Ziyech holds Dutch and Moroccan citizenship and speaks Arabic, French, Dutch and English. He is known for a few interests and hobbies, one of which is playing "billiards", and he is known to rush to sleep whenever he feels the need to release stress.
He also greatly appreciates that his sister is his biggest fan in his family, and owes it to his mother, who stood when he won the Eredivisie Player of the Year award, in the middle of the concert hall, and said of her: "This is my mother, she is the real hero, not me. She is everything to me, and without her I would not stand before you today, so please greet her because she is the one who led me here to stand before you."
Harsh childhood and addiction
At the age of ten, Hakim Ziyash suffered a mental health crisis after his father, Mohamed Ziyash, died of multiple sclerosis on December 23, 2003. "I wanted to stay with him and didn't go to bed until midnight," he recounted, and "a few hours later I woke up and heard my family crying and went downstairs, where my father was dead."
His mother was struggling to support the family with family benefits and unemployment grant. Their suffering continued when two of his brothers were imprisoned for theft and assault. While Hakim was the hope of the family, his impact on the early death of his father reflected negatively on his behavior, as he stumbled in his studies, stopped playing football at the age of 12, and became aggressive and addicted to drugs and alcohol in a way that almost destroyed his life, and ended his football career early.
It was the Moroccan star and his former coach, Aziz Dovikar, who succeeded in lifting him out of addiction, and Hakim Ziyech considers him like his surrogate father, and he credited this suffering for what he has reached now.
Early love of football
At the age of five, Ziyech's football talent was on display when he was playing with his brothers on the streets. The Cruyff Court witnessed matches between neighborhood people.
"I used to play ball against those who are older than me, and they don't accept to lose, they keep kicking you, these things make you more solid and give you a mentality that helps you face difficulties in the future," he said of that period.
He told in press interviews, that he used his left foot for the first time to kick friends who were fighting with his older brother, called "Fawzi", in the framework of a joke, and he intervened, believing that they had a problem, so he went towards them and beat them to protect his brother.
His brother discovered that his future was in football, so he brought a ball and told him, "Take it and make it your friend." At the age of seven, Ziyech's football career began when in 2001 he joined a small club (Heerenveen FC) in Real Dronton, which helped him develop his skills. His older brothers were keen to take care of him.
As a child, Hakim Ziyech was fond of French player Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian player Ronaldinho. He was constantly watching videos of their games on YouTube.
A difficult football career
After Hakim's older brother was released from prison, he assumed the role of father and encouraged him to return to playing football. It took a long conversation between them for a few hours. His brother told him, "Listen, my friend, we've been working on this for 8 years now, and it's not going to stop."
He had initially had a difficult time at Heerenveen under then-coach Marco van Basten. At the time, his brother had placed him under the care of an Armenian family, but his relationship with them was tense, which made him very sleepless and turned to alcohol and drugs. He was irregular in training and, at one point, he disrespected his teammates or coaches.
But Hakim Ziyech found care from coach Aziz Dovikar, who accompanied him to a miniature football hall. He succeeded in returning him to Heerenveen in 2007, and gradually began to overcome his shock. Thanks to training, Ziyech, then 14, was able to provide little financial assistance to his family.
While staying at the academy camp, Ziyech returned to drug use and trouble. This had affected his performance, and reduced his chances of signing a professional contract, which delayed his joining the first team. In 2010, his court cases amounted to 6 prosecutions.
Aziz Dovicar again stepped in with advice and guidance, and Ziyech got another chance with Heerenveen. He was forced to leave school permanently at the age of 16, where he struggled to become a professional footballer to help his mother support his family.
Hakim Ziyech progressed through the age groups, until he joined Heerenveen's first team in 2012, with the help of Aziz Dovikar. This coincided with his departure from the home of the sponsoring family, and lived with his agent, Mustafa Nakheel, in Amsterdam.
It was his first professional move in the Eredivisie, where he managed to score 13 goals and provide 9 assists in 46 games in two seasons with the club.
Ziyech praised coach Alfred Schroeder, who persuaded him to join Twente Enschede, to which he moved on 18 August 2014, and that was the beginning of his great brilliance, scoring 34 goals in 76 games.
Wizard of Amsterdam
At the age of 18, he signed with Dutch championship giants Ajax Amsterdam for 4.5 seasons worth €11 million. The most successful period of his football career began, and he saved his family from poverty and became one of the stars of the team.
The Moroccan star, nicknamed the "Magician of Amsterdam" by the Dutch for his high skill and outstanding performance, has played 165 matches in various competitions, during which he managed to score 48 goals and assist 82 others. He won the league and cup double, then reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, scoring 24 goals in all competitions.
The club then bid farewell to its Moroccan star after the end of the Dutch football season was confirmed, due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic (Covid-19), with the best player award, which he had won for the third time, and then moved to the English club Chelsea in July 2020, after signing a 5-year contract for 40 million euros.
Ziyech, 29, participated with the "Blues" in 83 games, during which he scored 14 goals and assisted 10, and he had suffered from a lack of minutes in his ranks, led by his former German coaches, "Thomas Tuchel" and the current "Graham Potter", as he played only 5 games in the Premier League this season, including only one match as a starting player.
Hakim Ziyech recently found interest from the Italian club "Inter Milan" to sign him in the winter transfer market next January.
I want Morocco
Ziyech had played for the Netherlands Under-19s, Under-20s and Under-21s. He also featured for the Dutch senior national team in May 2015 in friendlies against the USA and Latvia.
In September 2015, he confirmed the choice to represent Morocco internationally, and before that, Dutch coach Geess Hiedink was in constant contact with him, and Badou Zaki, the Moroccan coach at the time, was in intensive contact and meetings with him. In the end, he said, "I want Morocco." The most famous statement justifying his choice was when he said, "My blood is not orange to play for the Netherlands, my blood is red like the flag of Morocco."
This choice caused him to be targeted with racist slurs and pelted at the stadiums. Former Netherlands striker Marco van Basten described his choice as "naïve", and the Dutch coach at the time described him as "stupid" for choosing Morocco at the expense of the Netherlands.
He was under great pressure from the Dutch press and officials. "There is nothing that makes me change my mind about playing for the Moroccan national team, I will not change Morocco in the Netherlands. I didn't choose the Moroccan national team because the Netherlands were late in calling me up, I chose it because my heart dictated to me."
"There my father was buried and there my family lives, as I feel that I am inside my house and the blood runs in my veins in the colors of the homeland," he said. Ziyech made his international debut for Morocco on 9 October 2015, and on 27 May 2016, he scored his first two goals for Morocco in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and led them to the 2018 World Cup of Nations, while the Netherlands missed the tournament.
Hakim Ziyech has had difficult periods with Morocco, being removed from the squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon due to disagreements with former Atlas Lions coach Hervé Renard.
Ziyech then said in a statement to his club's channel "Ajax Amsterdam" that he felt great sadness in the early days of the decision to exclude him. "I wanted to defend the colours of my country, but, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to do so, it is true that I was sad in the early days, but I managed to overcome it, and now I have great enthusiasm to work for the future."
Ziyech led the Atlas Lions to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he scored two of the 11 goals in the qualifiers, and then was removed from the squad for the 2021 African Cup in Cameroon, after disagreements with former Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who compared himself to the mountain that does not collapse in his statements, and confirmed more than once that he will not include Ziyech in the Moroccan national team, even on his neck.
In February 2022, the Morocco international announced his retirement from the national team. "Things are settled for me, I respect the coach's decision to remove me but in the end I will not return to the national team. "I understand the anger that Moroccans will feel about this decision and I regret it, but it will be like this now."
Halilhodzic's stay as coach of the Lions meant Ziyech's chance to participate in the World Cup in Qatar was over.
Ziyech has been away from representing Morocco for almost a year and a half, since participating in Morocco's match against Central African Republic in the African Nations qualifiers on November 17, 2020, during which he scored one goal and assisted another, and announced that he would not play again for the Moroccan national team.
Halilhodzic left by a decision of the Moroccan Football Federation, with anger growing over his technical choices in the African Cup finals in Cameroon, less than 3 months before the start of the World Cup in Qatar. After national coach Walid Regraki took charge of the Moroccan national team on August 31st. The Chelsea playmaker has retreated from his retirement and returned to the Atlas Lions squad.
He had expressed his happiness to return to the national team, announcing his readiness. "We are now having a different experience in having a new technical device that carries new ideas as well," he said.
Moroccan fans chanted Ziyech's name during the friendly match between the Lions and Chile at the Cornella del Alprat stadium in Barcelona. As part of the Lions' preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
In Morocco's second friendly against Georgia, Ziyech scored a world-class goal with a shot from 66 metres that lodged straight into the net. He equalled former Moroccan player Marouane Chamakh's record as Morocco's fifth all-time top scorer with 18 goals.
Hakim Ziyech is one of 9 players in the national team, who joined the list of the 2022 World Cup, and they were in the last edition of Russia 2018, accompanied by coach Hervé Renard. He has 44 caps for his country since 2015.
Lions coach Walid Regraki has turned a new page with Ziyech, and has been reintegrated into the squad that left for Doha for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
After a good performance and a precious draw for the Lions against Croatia, and a historic victory against Belgium. The Moroccan international's performance showed the correctness of the demands of the fans who were calling for his return to strengthen the Moroccan national team during the "Halilhodzic" phase.
Regraki praised him in the press conference after the win over Belgium, saying: "This player is amazing, with his return the spirit returned to the national team, many people say about him that he is a crazy person and he cannot be managed and led with a group and he cannot help the team, but what I have personally noticed is that when you give him love and confidence he can die for you."
"He's a great player who plays for a big team in Europe and as you can see he has become another player for the Moroccan national team, what he needs is for the coaches to give him confidence on the basis that he is a star, and he is a star in the Moroccan national team," he said.
At about 1.80 metres tall, with a weight of 65 to 70 kilograms, Ziyech has an ideal stature and weight for playing football, playing specifically in the midfield and attacking positions.
He is known for his left-footed, which sends accurate passes, and is known for his tactical ability, set-pieces and maneuverability. What sets him apart as a playmaker is his simple touch, his distinctive skills and speed in penetration.
The British newspaper "The Guardian" ranked him in the 2018/2019 season, ranked 29th on its list of the best 100 footballers in the world.
The "Shirt 7" was awarded the Man of the Match award against Belgium, which was hosted at Al Thumama Stadium on November 27, as part of the second round of Group F competitions at the 2022 World Cup finals.
He had the most doubles in the game (9), and he was the player with the most correct dribbles (3). He also created two chances, the second of which was achieved by Morocco's second goal, signed by teammate Zakaria Abou Khalal.
Ziyech has won numerous awards, including:
Best player award for the match between Morocco and Belgium in the framework of the World Cup in Qatar.
Netherlands Player of the Year Award 2018.
Eredivisie Passer of the Year for seasons (2014-2015)/ (2016-2017)/ (2018-2019).
Best Moroccan Player of the Year 2016.
Ajax World Player Award 2017-2018 season.
Ambassador for the Drontense SOE project, to help troubled youth.