Speaking after Morocco’s last 16 win over Spain on penalties in Qatar, Moroccan coach Walid Regragui praised Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech’s displays at the World Cup, saying “he’s not just another player.” Regragui explained:
“What he’s doing is tremendous. 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, Mbappé 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.”
Morocco’s dramatic win over Spain sets up a quarter-final meeting with Portugal this weekend in Qatar.