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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, May 17 2019 10:11PM

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with the Moroccan star - but so too have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund


Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has confirmed that Hakim Ziyech will leave the club this summer - it's just a matter of where.


Ziyech, the left-footed Moroccan international, played a starring role in the Dutch club's run to the Champions League semi-finals.


The 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable campaign in Amsterdam, scoring 21 goals and registering 24 assists for Erik ten Hag's side as they completed a domestic double.


Scouts have flocked to the Johan Cruyff Arena to keep tabs on the club's star names, and Ziyech has impressed.


Manchester United , Arsenal and Liverpool have all been watching him - as have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the pair eyeing him as replacement for Arjen Robben and Christian Pulisic respectively.


Bayern have already made contact with the player's representatives.


Ziyech has been non-committal on his future thus far, saying after the club sealed the Dutch title this week "That [a move] will come by itself. When that happens, everyone will automatically hear it."


Ajax are resigned to losing the ex-Twente star for a relatively meagre £25million, due to a release clause in his contract.


But Overmars admits he will go with their blessing.


"He leaves when a top club comes," said the Ajax boss. "He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League.


"Many big clubs are buzzing around him. We promised Hakim [that we would] agree to a good transfer."


Ziyech was named the club's player of the year after his displays.


He is expected to be part of the Morocco squad at this summer's Africa Cup of Nations also, with the Atlas Lions having been drawn in Group D, alongside Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.


https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/ajax-confirm-hakim-ziyech-leave-16162139

By The Atlas Lions, May 16 2019 06:54PM

(Goal.com) The Morocco internationals played key roles during the 2018-19 season as the Sons of Gods completed a domestic double


Hakim Ziyech has been named Ajax’s Player of the Year and his compatriot Noussair Mazraoui got the Talent of the Year award.


Coach Erik ten Hag made the announcement, on behalf of the supporters, during the end of season ceremony in Amsterdam on Thursday.


Ziyech and Mazraoui helped Ajax end their five-year wait for a league title on Wednesday, and they also played a part in Ajax's Dutch Cup triumph.


Ziyech impressed the world with his outstanding performances for Ajax during the Uefa Champions League, inspiring them to the semi-finals where they eventually lost to Tottenham Hotspur on the away goals rule.


During the 2018-19 season, Ziyech contributed 19 goals and 16 assists in 43 outings across all competitions while Mazraoui provided four goals and an assist in 42 matches.


Ziyech’s future at the Johan Cruyff Arena remains uncertain with several European clubs including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid reported to be targeting a summer move for him.


Next month, the duo are expected to play crucial roles for Morocco at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.


The Atlas Lions have been drawn in Group D against Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.

By The Atlas Lions, May 6 2019 11:00AM

By Mirror


EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham rivals Ajax's Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui won't eat or drink during daylight hours for four days in run-up to Champions League semi decider


Ajax stars Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui have told the club that they are going to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.


But Dutch fitness guru Raymond Verheijen has warned the pair, who will not be consuming any food or liquids during daylight hours from Sunday, that they will suffer physically at a crucial stage of the season for Treble-chasing Ajax.


The Amsterdam side face Willem II in the Dutch Cup Final on Sunday, then host Tottenham on Wednesday night in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final they lead 1-0 and are ahead of PSV Eindhoven only on goal difference at the top of the Eredivisie with two games to go.


Verheijen said: “It would be irresponsible if Ziyech and Mazraoui stick to the fasting requirements of Ramadan at this stage of the season. Ajax’s situation is extreme - everyone is aware of that.


“The players’ bodies will be deregulated, as they will be changing a pattern of training and diet of the past 11 months.


“If you do this now, in the ultimate performance weeks of the season, it is like throwing a spanner in a wheel. Their blood sugar level will be lower - and that means less and less energy. Not only does that make athletes less alert, it will also send weaker signals to the muscles of the body.”


Ziyech played all but three minutes of last week's first leg in north London, while Mazraoui came on as a substitute just after the hour.


Verheijen added: “The sun sets on Wednesday night at 21.18 in local time and the second leg of the semi-final kicks off at 21.00. You can’t play without eating before the game. And what about if this match goes to extra time, with Tottenham leading 1-0?


“I expect the players to realise that this is almost impossible for them.”


Ajax coach Erik ten Hag refuses to ask any of his squad to put their fitness needs ahead of their religious beliefs. He said: “It is the choice of my players. I leave this entirely up to them."

By The Atlas Lions, May 5 2019 08:42PM

(Goal.com) The African stars were on parade at Feyenoord Stadium as the Sons of Gods lifted their ninth Cup title on Sunday


Morocco duo Hakim Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui and Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana helped Ajax win the Dutch Cup with a 4-0 win over Willem II.


Ziyech provided an assist for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to double Ajax's lead a minute after Daley Blind opened the scoring in the 38th minute.


After the restart, Huntelaar bagged his brace in the 67th minute before Mazraoui assisted Rasmus Kristensen for the fourth goal in the 76th minute.


Ziyech was later replaced by David Neres in the 58th minute as Onana kept a clean sheet for the Amsterdam outfit.


The trio will hope to maintain their fine form when Ajax host Tottenham Hotspur for the return fixture of their Uefa Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.


Ziyech and Mazraoui are expected to play a part in Morocco’s campaign at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.


The Atlas Lions have dates set against Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia in Group D while Onana’s Cameroon have been drawn against Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Benin in Group F.

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 24 2019 06:20AM

Goal.com


Hakim Ziyech was on target as Ajax walloped Vitesse 4-2 in Tuesday’s Dutch Eredivisie encounter.


The Morocco international was handed his 27th league appearance by manager Erik ten Hag and he impressed, helping his side to strengthen their lead on the table.


Ziyech opened the scoring in the 41st minute after receiving a pass from Dusan Tadic to ignite the goals surge.


Ziyech featured for 63 minutes before he was substituted for David Neres while Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana was on parade for the entire duration of the game.


The 26-year-old winger has now scored 16 goals in the league and 20 in all competitions this season.


The victory saw Ajax open a three-point gap on the table and will hope to increase their winning streak to five games when they clash with Tottenham Hotspur for their semi-final Champions League game on April 30.


Ziyech will look forward to replicating the impressive club performances for Morocco in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.


The Atlas Lions start their campaign in the tournament against Namibia on June 23 before they take on Ivory Coast on June 28 and wrap up their Group D games against South Africa on July 1.

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 23 2019 12:40PM

The Ajax star had once vowed never to play in the Morocco stripes under the French tactician

Herve Renard has shouldered ‘99%’ of the blame for Hakim Ziyech's decision to desert Morocco in the past.


Both parties got off to an underwhelming start, with the Ajax star frustrated at the treatment he received from the Frenchman.


Renard's first test as Morocco's coach was a 2017 African Cup of Nations doubleheader against Cape Verde in March 2016.


Ziyech, who had been impressive in the campaign, was dropped for the first leg before being handed a substitute role in the reverse fixture in Marrakech.


He was then left out of the preliminary squad for the finals in Gabon.


The decision prompted the Ajax star to declare his intention never to return to the national team fold as long as the Afcon-winning manager remained in charge. He stuck to the decision until the problem was resolved later.


Now, Renard has finally accepted that he was at fault.


"I was appointed coach. I start training on Monday. We play on Saturday in Cape Verde on a synthetic field with a lot of wind; a typical African game with the characteristics that I know. I put Hakim in the stands, we start on a difficult base, we play the return to Morocco three days later, he returns for 25 minutes, but he was certainly not satisfied with the stage in its entirety,” Renard said on Le Vestiaire, a RMC Sport show.


“I made a mistake here. Do not talk to him, everyone is on his side, the situation is tense, he's coming back, the third time he's a little hurt... until I do not pick him any more.”


Renard maintained that Ziyech's character ‘remained impeccable’ in spite of all he faced.


"There is nothing about it. He has never shown bad character, he never reacted badly, on the contrary, he remained impeccable, even if, of course, he was not satisfied, and after a year, my president told me, 'We need to go see him, you see the season he's doing.'


"I said 'yes, on his qualities, there is nothing to say, that's what we need,” he continued.


"We went to Amsterdam and after three minutes of conversation, everything was settled, he wanted to come back, he is very attached to the national team, I needed him and I recognized my mistakes."


Ziyech has not only become a star performer in Renard's squad, he is now one of the best players in Europe.


His showings this season has helped Ajax reach the semi-finals of the Uefa Champions League, dumping out Real Madrid and Juventus in the process. And they have their eyes set on the Eredivisie title.


He starred in Morocco’s underwhelming outing at the 2018 Fifa World Cup and is set to play a crucial role at his first Afcon finals in June.


The Atlas Lions have been placed in Group D alongside Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia.


https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/morocco-coach-herve-renard-opens-up-on-hakim-ziyech-mistake/f4a9cwjguym71imowesneexrb

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 20 2019 09:58AM

(Goal.com) The Moroccan has garnered plenty of attention from top clubs with his displays for the Eredivisie side over the past three seasons


Hakim Ziyech has suggested he may not be ready to leave Ajax after this season comes to an end, saying he is "someone who is very picky".


The 26-year-old has been reported to have had admirers in the past thanks to strong seasons in the Eredivisie with FC Twente and later Ajax.


But Ziyech has seemingly taken things to a higher level this term for Ajax during a remarkable campaign for himself individually and the club as a whole.


The Morocco international has scored 19 goals and added 20 assists in all competitions, with Ajax in first place domestically and having sensationally defeated Real Madrid and Juventus in the Champions League knockout stage to advance to the semi-final round, where they will face Tottenham.


That form has led to increased reported transfer interest from around Europe, with Arsenal and Bayern Munich just two of the many teams linked with the 26-year-old.


Though many expect him to move on at season's end, Ziyech has warned he isn't necessarily ready to leave the Johan Cruyff Arena and only will seek an exit if the right situation appeals to him.


“Anything is possible," the attacking midfielder told Inside Ajax.


“I am always someone who is very picky and there must be a club that I want to trade in for Ajax. That doesn’t just happen.”


Ziyech, who joined Ajax from Twente in 2016, has a contract with the club through the 2020-21 season.


He is one of many players who the Dutch club will face a battle to keep past the season, with the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and David Neres among those drawing eyes from Europe's top sides, while Frenkie de Jong has already agreed to a move to Barcelona.


Ajax are currently level on points with PSV atop the Eredivisie table, and will take on Groningen in league play on Saturday.


Their Champions League semi-final with Spurs begins with the first leg on April 30, before the return leg a week later.

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 18 2019 10:44AM

By Africanfootball.com


Former AFC Ajax midfielder Steven Pienaar says Moroccan star Hakim Ziyech is one of the most underrated players, and would be more highly regarded if he were European.


The 26-year-old Moroccan has been in consistently excellent form for the Eredivisie club through the 2018/19 season, racking up 19 goals and 20 assists in 42 games across all competitions.


Yet it is the likes of Dusan Tadic, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt which have earned most of the plaudits for the Amsterdam giants, particularly in their run to the UEFA Champions League semifinals which has seen them come through a group featuring Bayern Munich before eliminating two of the tournament favourites, Real Madrid and Juventus.


"Ziyech is one of the players that has been playing really well all season, he's the type of player that when you watch him in action, he makes you happy," Pienaar said at a Heineken UEFA Champions League event.


"He's a complete footballer, but underrated, you know if you're not European, you are always underrated."


Ziyech will look to continue his superb form for Ajax as they chase a treble of Eredivisie title, KNVB Cup and Champions League, before turning out for Morocco’s Atlas Lions at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.


By The Atlas Lions, Apr 16 2019 06:19PM

While a bad joke, the comment suggests that many in Egypt consider Morocco’s Lions as one of the toughest challenges standing in the way of the Pharaohs’ CAN 2019 aspirations.


By Morocco World News -


Rabat – Ahmed Shobair, a former Egyptian football star who now hosts one of Egypt’s most popular football shows, has made a bad joke about Morocco’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) prospects. The Egyptian said that he wishes Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech had been injured.


Speaking about what to expect from each of the CAN contenders on his “Malaab on” show aired on ON Sport, Shobair asked his guest which Moroccan player would be unavailable for the rest of the season due to a serious injury.


The guest correctly answered the trivia question. He pointed out that Achraf Hakimi, who recently suffered a metatarsal injury, is set to miss the remainder of the season with his German club, Dortmund, as well as his national team heading to Egypt for CAN in the summer.


Shobair commented, however, that he wished Hakim Ziyech had sustained the injury instead of Hakimi.


Revengeful for Real Madrid or worried for Egypt?

Since moving to Ajax in 2016, Ziyech has established himself as an invaluable starter. The 26-year old attacking midfielder feels comfortable in almost all positions demanding creativity and technical ease.


His consistently stellar performances with club and country have won him a good reputation, with many considering him as the creative mastermind of coach Herve Renard’s attack-minded Atlas Lions.


Shobair, however, a diehard Real Madrid fan, is said to be holding grudges against the Moroccan player for his role in the 4-1 home humiliation of the Spanish club during their Champions League second leg with Dutch club Ajax.


Ziyech scored Ajax’s first goal in what many Real Madrid supporters will remember as the team’s most spirit-crushing Champions League defeat in decades.


But the Egyptian’s comments did also carry a significant echo to the upcoming 2019 CAN to be played in Egypt between June 21 and July 19.

Shobair’s comments came in the wake of the CAN 2019 draw.


Morocco has been drawn in the competition’s “group of death,” while Egypt features in a fairly playable Group A along with Congo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. But the prospects of a Morocco vs. Egypt game remain open for the later stages.


Based on their current FIFA standings, past CAN records, and recent matches, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and Algeria are largely considered to be the tournament’s favorites.

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