Facts You Need To Know About Chelsea’s New Wonderboy Hakim Ziyech
Who is Chelsea’s latest midfield signing, Hakim Ziyech? Here, we have compiled ten things you didn’t know about Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan wizard is due to arrive from Ajax after the 2019/20 season. Chelsea dished out €40 million (without added bonuses) to sign from the Dutch champions. He spent his entire footballing career in the Netherlands to become one of their most prominent creative faces.
Ziyech developed his traits at Heerenveen and went on to make his senior debut with the club. After another spell with FC Twente, Ajax signed Ziyech for €11 million in 2016. He scored 17 goals and laid out 10 assists in the Eredivisie the season prior to earn that move. He quickly became a formidable attacking force for The Lancers, helping them regain prominence in the European stage. Ziyech’s spectacular performances helped Ajax reach the Champions League semi-finals in the 2018/19 campaign. He collected 21 goals and 24 assists in 49 appearances last term, thus forcing Chelsea’s hand to in the transfer. Arsenal were also heavily interested in the Moroccan international as their potential Mesut Ozil replacement but could not get to him soon enough.
At 27, Ziyech will not exactly be following the same path as some of Chelsea’s recent additions. But he is fully ready for the Premier League, arriving with a ton of experience and offensive pedigree. Let’s take a closer look at the player.
Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Hakim Ziyech
Frank Lampard wanted to bring in more creativity in this Chelsea side and he got exactly that in Ziyech. The midfielder can play from the two flanks or even down the centre to set up his team’s attacks. He is not necessarily a physically dominant player but someone who uses his technical abilities and craftiness to find space and lay out key passes.
10. Hakim Ziyech is a Moroccan born in the Netherlands
Hakim Ziyech was born in the town of Dronten in the Netherlands on 19 March 1993. He is the last of the 8 children. His family is from the Dutch, Arab and African origin. He had 4 brothers while growing up, which hot him interested in football. He joined a local football academy at the age of 5. He started his youth career at Reaal Dronten and then moved to ASV Dronten.
9. Saved FC Twente
Hakim Ziyech nearly singlehandedly save Twente from relegation. After selling two of their best players Quincy Promes and Dusan Tadic, the club was suffering in the league. Ziyech came in to lead the Eredivisie assist charts in his first season. He stood out within a struggling team to collect 34 goals and 30 assists in 76 appearances for them. Assistant manager, Boudewijn Pahlplatz reflected on just how big Ziyech’s impact was on the club.
“He was the one who kept Twente in the league,” says Pahlplatz. “The financial issues were big and the team level dropped because we replaced good players with average players. He was the exception. You could see immediately his quality. He was already a good player but at Twente he became a better player. He was so important to the team. He was the one who was taking the team by the hand and leading them throughout those two years.”
8. Almost quit football at 13
Hakim Ziyech endured a difficult childhood where he lost his father at 10 years of age. Being the youngest of eight children, much of the family burden fell on him financially. His siblings, Faouzi and Hicham saw their football career die out after being convicted of burglary. Hakim was their last hope.
Speaking to Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, he recalled:
“I remember well, it was winter, just after Christmas. My father was in a bed in the living room. He’d been sick for some time, getting worse and worse. I had to go to bed that night, but I wanted to stay with him. Finally, I fell asleep on the edge of his bed. Around midnight, I woke up and went up to my room. A few hours later, around 3am, I heard family members crying downstairs. I went into the living room. My father was dead.”
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