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Hakim Ziyech: a mesmerising talent who is not afraid to speak his mind

The Ajax winger who is joining Chelsea in the summer has criticised coaches and teammates in the past but also developed into a world-class player

“I say what i feel and that’s why I’m not the simplest guy for a few coaches.” One thing is needless to say about Chelsea’s new €44m signing, Hakim Ziyech: he's not a yes man.

The quote comes from an interview I did with him in 2015, when he was at Twente, and few people at the club were spared. He was brutally honest about what he felt the issues were with the coach, most of his teammates and therefore the board. once I asked him just before the article was published if he was conscious of the potential fallout he said: “That’s fine. the reality hurts.”

A lot went on since: Ziyech is 26 and prepared to require the most important step of his career by moving to Chelsea within the summer. He has developed significantly as a person and a player within the past five years and Chelsea are signing someone who has adapted to the very highest level and can always play together with his heart, trusting his intuition.

“This may be a good step; Hakim is basically ready for it now,” says Aziz Doufikar, a former professional player and a youth worker who kept Ziyech out of trouble when the youngster was growing up in Dronten. Despite being 30 years older than Ziyech, Doufikar played street football together with his protege within the early 2000s and coached him at indoor tournaments. agen sbobet

They have tons in common. “Just love it happened to Hakim, my father died before I had my breakthrough and that’s difficult. I said: ‘Our fathers check out us from above and that we need to make them proud. Come on, don’t worry, start .’”

Ziyech will always remember Doufikar’s support and still invites him to Amsterdam for games. Doufikar, asked what has turned Ziyech from an honest Eredivisie player into a world-beater, says: “He has learned to not always placed on his lounging jacket , but sometimes his overalls.”

Certainly Ziyech has added diligence to his eyecatching talent. he's not just a flair player. He makes more runs, he contributes heavily to the defensive work and always urges teammates to stay going, even at 4-0 up.

The Morocco international was one among Ajax’s standout players as they took Europe by storm last season. He developed into a way more complete player but, crucially, lost none of his attacking spark. He scored in both legs as Ajax eliminated Real Madrid within the Champions League last 16 and was within the right direction|not off course"> on track in the semi-final second leg against Tottenham.

Perhaps the foremost telling sign of Ziyech’s importance was that when he was injured in mid-January, Ajax lost their spark.

Ajax fans were devastated when the news broke that he's joining Chelsea. they're going to miss the swirling passes, creativity, delightful technique, eye for the sport and scoring ability of a playmaker who mostly operates from the proper wing. “I wouldn’t put him below someone like Riyad Mahrez,” the previous Ajax coach Frank de Boer said recently on Fox Sports.

Football around Europe: 10 things to look out for this weekend

• Chelsea v Liverpool: Sunday, 12.30pm

Leicester were fortunate to draw 0-0 reception with Wolves on the opening day, once they had tons of the play but struggled to prevent the visitors’ counterattacks – and Adama Traoré didn't even play that day. If Traoré is fit enough to play on Friday – which isn't certain, since he suffered a dislocated shoulder against Manchester United – then Leicester will have cause for concern, especially with Wilfred Ndidi likely to be missing from their midfield due to knee trouble. Still, Brendan Rodgers’s side are bound to have spells of possession and must hope that a week’s break has helped Jamie Vardy to rediscover the sharpness he showed earlier within the season. The striker, who at one stage this season seemed nearly bound to finish because the Premier League’s top scorer, has been below par within the past month approximately , unlike Wolves’ Raúl Jiménez, who continues to perform like one among the simplest centre-forwards on the earth. judi bola terbaik

• Wolverhampton Wanderers v Leicester City: Friday, 8pm

Could Southampton finish within the European spots? Could Burnley? Both sit among the teams on 31 points – Arsenal among them – that are almost certainly safe from the drop and might, with another result or two within the bag, fancy taking the shackles off for a late sprint towards a largely vulnerable top six. Both have a game in hand on fifth-placed Sheffield United, who are eight points ahead as things stand, and that they are coitus interruptus enough results to suggest nothing can quite be discounted. Southampton, especially , will find encouragement in what looks a remarkably inviting run of games before they host Manchester City on 11 April. it might still take a unprecedented hot streak but, given the way Ralph Hasenhüttl has turned their fortunes around since that grim 9-0 defeat to Leicester, it might probably be wise to not bet too heavily against them climbing higher still. NA

• Southampton v Burnley: Saturday, 12.30pm

Manchester United have scored in just one among five league games this civil year , while Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in just one among their five games in 2020, so a minimum of one unfortunate record goes to seem a touch brighter by the top of Monday. Chelsea’s last two league matches have finished in 2-2 draws, which was also the score the last time Manchester United played at Stamford Bridge – Ross Barkley scored a 96th-minute equaliser and United’s manager, José Mourinho, had to be restrained from responding violently to the Chelsea coach Marco Ianni’s gloating celebration. Since then Ianni has followed Maurizio Sarri to Juventus, Mourinho has gone to Tottenham, and relations between Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjær and their respective coaching teams are likely to stay cordial. SB

• Chelsea v Manchester United: Monday, 8pm

Now that even Steven Gerrard has admitted that Rangers have bottled their title challenge, the chief intrigue within the Scottish Premiership is on the brawl to avoid relegation. Last-placed Hearts host second-from-bottom Hamilton on Saturday during a clash which will probably go an extended way towards deciding who goes down. Hamilton arrive in wretched form – Guillaume Beuzelin described his side’s performance in Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat by Aberdeen as “horrendous” – and are likely to be bereft of key players, including the captain, Brian Easton, who suffered a shoulder injury on Tuesday. If Hearts don't cash in this weekend, it's had to ascertain them getting off rock bottom this season. PD