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

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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 think and that’s why I’m not the easiest guy for some coaches.” Many things can be said about Chelsea’s new €44m signing, Hakim Ziyech, but one thing is for sure: he is not a yes man.

Doufikar, asked what has turned Ziyech from a good Eredivisie player into a world beater, says: “He has learned not to always put on his smoking jacket, but sometimes his overalls.” Certainly Ziyech has added hard work to his eye-catching talent.

The truth hurts.” A lot has happened since and Ziyech is 26 and ready to take the biggest step of his career by moving to Chelsea in the summer.

Despite being 30 years older than Ziyech, Doufikar played street football with his protege in the early 2000s and coached him at indoor tournaments.

“This is a good step; Hakim is really ready for it now,” says Aziz Doufikar, a former professional player and a youth worker who kept Ziyech out of trouble when the youngster grew up in Dronten.

“Just like it happened to Hakim, my father died before I had my breakthrough and that’s difficult.

“I wouldn’t put him below someone like Riyad Mahrez,” the former Ajax coach Frank de Boer said recently on Fox Sports.
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