Hakim Ziyech is nothing if not fair. The winger of Ajax may have the world at his feet, but much about modern football and modern life leaves a sour taste in his mouth.
& # 39; Many fake characters walk around soccer fields, so I trust few people, & # 39; he said in a recent interview. "It's a big puppet show and it's getting worse.
" The puppet show also depends on something like social media. That has destroyed the world. & # 39;
With those prospects, Ziyech has quickly stabilized himself better for the unceasing spotlight of the English Premier League to thrive in the comparative darkness of the Eredivisie of Holland.
The 26-year-old Morocco international, considered one of the most exciting players in European football, will come to Chelsea this summer in a deal worth £ 37 million.
[1 9459002] The murmur of excitement among Chelsea fans is understandable – Ziyech is an entertainer on the field, able to pinpoint cross-field passes, deadly inswinging crosses, and spectacular left-wing targets from the right flank.
Chelsea has beaten a clique of other prominent European clubs for his signature, including Bayern Munich, with Premier League rivals Arsenal and Liverpool also linked.
It is easy to accuse Ziyech of being hypocritical in his remarks about the scourge of social media.
You don't have to go far through his Instagram feed to find the attributes of fame that Ziyech seemed to scold when he said: & # 39; everyone wants to show everything, it's made up & # 39; .
A photo of him perched on a wing-door Lamborghini posing on a hunt, feeding bears, lemurs and giraffes in the exclusive animal reserve Fame Park in Dubai, which is open for the rich VIP & # 39; s but not for the rich VIP & # 39; sp ublic.
But Ziyech certainly has not been able to reach an easy path in life where he is today.
Ziyech was the youngest of nine children and his father died of multiple sclerosis when he was just 10 years old.
He spoke with great pleasure about how they ate fries together in the canteen of his first club, Reaal Dronten, in his home town after competitions.
His mother raised Hakim, his four brothers and four sisters with one hand and he stayed out of trouble by playing football. As the youngest and smallest, he soon developed a series of tricks and skills to keep himself afloat on the street fields.
Picked up by the Heerenveen academy at the age of 14, he broke through in the first team about six years later and scored 11 goals in 36 games during the 2013-14 season.
This resulted in a move to Twente, where his reputation in the Netherlands and abroad really started to flourish. 11 league goals and 16 assists in his first season were followed by 17 and 10 the following year.
At the start of his second season there, Ziyech got the captain's band but was stripped of it six months later when he was interviewed made disrespectful comments about the club and demanded a move.
In short, he criticized every aspect of the club and the way it was run after the resignation of manager Alfred Schreuder.
It all contributed to the feeling that Ziye ch was at best a complex character whose beauty was hard to read, or at worst, a completely loose cannon. something of an enigma.
But nobody could argue with his performances on the field and he got his move to Ajax, the most famous Dutch club of all.
The trajectory of Ziyech continued to rise and his first season was a memorable one, scored 12 times and added 20 assists while Ajax went all the way to the Europa League final and lost 2-0 to Manchester United.
But it was when Erik ten Hag arrived as the manager in 2017 that Ziyech really achieved his potential and played well alongside David Neres and his good friend Dusan Tadic.
With d The will of Matthijs van Ligt and Frenkie de Jong also in the side, it was clear that something special was brewing at Ajax.
Things came together spectacularly last season, because they not only claimed their league crown, but also started an exciting race to the semi-final of the Champions League.
Ziyech was arguably their best performer, scored 19 times and offered 17 assists. His first goal in the actual Champions League – he scored twice in the three qualifying rounds of Ajax – came against Real Madrid.
That was in the first leg that Ajax lost in Amsterdam with 2-1. All hope seemed lost, but when Ziyech opened the score on the Bernabeu, it provided the catalyst for a breathtaking 4-1 win.
They eliminated Juventus and had one foot in the final when Ziyech's stunning curling shot placed them 3-0 ahead of aggregate against Tottenham Hotspur in the semifinals.
As we know, they collapsed to give in three times and crash, a heartbreaking ending f or a team that scaled up such heights briefly.
Nevertheless, Ziyech was recognized as the Dutch player of the year before a summer of feverish transfer speculation because the Ajax team was taken apart.
De Ligt and De Jong went, but Ziyech continued to extend his Ajax contract after he had rejected a concrete offer from Sevilla. Crucially, the £ 25m release clause that attracted so much interest was removed throughout Europe.
Given that, and the nice shape that Ziyech has already continued this season with 21 assists, it seems as if Chelsea has ended up bargaining itself £ 37 m.
Perhaps uncomfortably close to Ziyech in the group stage of the Champions League decided to act quickly.
|Club / Season||Matches||Minutes||Goals||Assistes|
|NB All competitions|
He set three of Ajax & # 39; s goals in that ding-dong 4-4 draw in Stamford Bridge, in which Chelsea fights back 4-1 down after Daley Blind and Joel Veltman have been sent.
And they probably drooled as much as everyone else when Ziyech scored with a shameful looping strike in the 3-0 win over Valencia.
His class on the field flawless, Ziyech also showed that he has a big heart during the 2-0 win over Lille in Lille France.
An 11-year-old boy named Hussairy ran onto the field to embrace his idol Ziyech, who gives him his skirt after the game
When he was nowhere to be seen in the stands Pass the shirt on to a man who claimed to be the boy's father. It appeared on eBay a few days later, leaving the & # 39; father & # 39; if a fraud was uncovered.
Using social media, Ziyech found the boy and his mother, invited them to Amsterdam and personally presented a signed shirt.
Then there is the case of Leon de Kogel, a Dutch football player who played for Utrecht and Go Ahead Eagles before his career ended in a crash between his car and a taxi during a vacation to Malta.
& # 39; I didn't know him personally, but I knew right away: I have to help him, & # 39; said Ziyech who financed De Kogel & rehabilitation and legal costs in the court proceedings after it turned out that the taxi driver was not insured.
Soon Ziyech will exchange his apartment in Amsterdam, which is so high that it has a view of both Schiphol and the Johan Cruijff ArenA, for a path in London.
It recalls the advice Rafael van der Vaart gave to his former club Tottenham when he urged them to sign Ziyech while they had the opportunity last year: & # 39; I am convinced that he has a sensation being in London. & # 39;
Now he will probably do exactly that … but on the other side of town with Chelsea. Chances are that the & # 39; puppet show & # 39; just starting.
SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: Stuart Hogg eliminated because he thought he already scored … but the Scotland captain showed maturity and character to maintain concentration and admit mistakes after the game
- Stuart Hogg will be stripped after his mistake defeats Scotland in Ireland
- Hogg is to be applauded for not having gone into his shell after making his mistake
- ] The mistake of the captain of Scotland was the equivalent of a top striker who missed an open target
The headlines have painfully read before ] Stuart Hogg on Sunday after his precious howler monkey in Dublin, but I thought he was well ahead after that and in fact he remained focused and calm during the rest of the competition itself. You can crush things like that if you pay too much attention to them.
Who knows how these things happen? He is not the first and he will not be the last. World-class strikers miss open goals, & # 39; the world's best field players drop dollies, Open golf champions miss 15-inch putts, & # 39; The world's best goal-kickers occasionally scuffle one by one.
Probably has something to do with the fact that it is so easy that the brain is switched off before the question is complete and the body therefore clocks. If Hogg had to stretch for the line or if a defender had been close enough to take on a challenge, he would have scored every time. We are waiting to see Finn Russell be called back to the team, but even if he is, I would not necessarily start him in Murrayfield on Saturday.
In Cardiff it wasn't really enough of a competition to get excited, but you can't help admiring Josh Adams' creepy scoring ability and enjoying the joy on Nick Tompkins' face as he sprinted for an attempted debut.
As far as Italy is concerned, they have become a team almost without hope, further away from winning a Six Nations game than ever since their last win, against Scotland five years ago.
There are few indications in the living room of Ben Earl in the north London that he is a professional rugby player. The only thing to see is a polythene bag filled with 1,250 two-pin coins that he brought from the training. 25 bet that Arsenal would beat Manchester United .
& # 39; That's Mako for you & # 39 ;, he says laughing.
Earl is perhaps England's next breakthrough, but his interests are much broader than the archetypal sportsman.
Instead of computer games and rugby jerseys, his shelves are stacked with books and vinyl records from artists such as Paul Simon and The Beatles.
For an hour in his company, he discusses religion and his degree in comparative literature as much as he disassembles equipment numbers and malfunctions.
& # 39; The Odyssey and Omeros & # 39 ;, he says, choosing two books from his collection. "These were the texts from my dissertation. It was primarily based on ancient Greek poetry and its Caribbean presence. We went on vacation to the Caribbean when I was younger, so it's a place I'm always interested in.
& # 39; It is important to get rid of rugby and somehow I ended up with a 2: 1.
& # 39; Seeing what happened to Michael Fatialofa, who ended up in the hospital when we recently played Worcester, gives you a kick on the back that it's important to have something you can fall back on. In the coming weeks I hope to enter CME [Chicago Mercantile Exchange] to do a little foreign currency and see if I like it. Many of my school mats do it and it sounds pretty cheeky. & # 39;
Every work experience in the city will have to wait. With No8 injured Billy Vunipola, Earl is tipped to quickly get into the back row of England for next Sunday's Six Nations opener against France, challenging Lewis Ludlam for the jersey. He is currently reading Rachel Cusk's novel, Transit, which should swallow up some travel time on the way to Paris.
During a season dominated by the salary limit scandal, Earl has been one of the few good news stories on Saracens. , following Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Jamie George through the academy.
Speaking on the eve of the club's relegation decision, he promised that players would stick together & # 39; stick & # 39 ;. Earl has always been a great success, so it's no surprise that a large number of clubs want to give him a loan next season.
The pieces begin to fall into place for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer while the young players of Manchester United show character to come back from setback and rescue draw
There will be times in the past 82 years and 4,000 games when the impact of the young players of Manchester United on the first team was not great as it is now.
Times in which a remarkable series of academics graduated in the match-day team almost came to an end and the series came to an end.
More than four decades after Tom Manley and Jackie Wassall started playing in a 1-0 defeat against Fulham on October 30, 1937, the spirit of youth in United could hardly be stronger to be.
A club that produced the Busby Babes and Class of & # 39; 92 have put their trust in a new generation of young players and a manager who understands more than United's dedication to youth.
It was long embedded here in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a player and coach. before returning to Old Trafford a year ago, this week not only charged with reviving the club's fortune, but also overseeing a cultural shift that is more in line with United's traditions.
Nothing is more important than that young, native talent committed to playing an attacking style of football. It is not an easy process and over the past 12 months more than a few bumps have been underway for Solskjaer.
The feeling is that the pieces are starting to fall into place and there were further indications in a 1-1 draw with Everton on Old Trafford. It could not reach the heights of recent victories over Manchester City and Tottenham, but the young players of United showed character to come back from adversity and save a draw.
Who better to score the same on an occasion like this than Mason Greenwood? The teenager was only on the field for 12 minutes when he received the ball from Daniel James. Just as he had done when he scored twice here on Thursday-evening against Alkmaar in the Europa League, Greenwood did not hesitate. He chose his spot and led a low shot just inside the left post of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford of England.
The United fans stood up again to cheer a rising star and the youngest scorer in Old Trafford since Federico Macheda v Aston Villa here ten years ago.
& # 39; Mason Greenwood is different in and around the box & # 39 ;, Solskjaer said afterwards. & # 39; You are not surprised if he scores goals. It is fitting that it must be an academy player who scores in the 4,000th match and it makes it difficult for me to leave it out.
& # 39; We have always had the DNA, with players from other top clubs, and that will always be the philosophy here. & # 39;
Greenwood was one of the seven academics degrees in the team of Solskjaer for the milestone game. Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Jesse Lingard are regular starters of the first team and they are on merit. The bench included Andreas Pereira, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams and Greenwood who replaced Lingard in the 65th minute.
In fact, this young United team earned more from the game. They fell from start to finish, had 67 percent possession of the ball and 24 shots compared to eight by Everton.
The outcome may have been different if Lingard had placed his shot on the other side of the post when the ball reached him off Tom Davies in the first minutes and he strained for goal to shoot. Or when Rashford flashed a wide shot of goal shortly after racing in an excellent passing ball from Victor Lindelof
Lindelof & # 39; s unfortunate own goal for halftime – after Everton had cashed in on weak keeping of David de Gea and the leniency of Dominic Calvert-Lewin seemed to put an arm in the keeper 's face – was enough to give the visitors the lead.
But United raised his game in the second half and was well on top by the time Greenwood fired them. On a day like this he was the perfect scorer, although this was not the perfect result.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon greets the character, courage and genuine quality. of his players after winning Lazio
- Ntcham's strike in the stoppage time yielded a stunning victory in Rome
- He ran an Odsonne Edouard pass to secure Celtic's first win in Italy
- Ciro Immobile had led Lazio, but James Forrest was equal to visitors
- Celtic sealed a place in the Europa League last 32 with two games to spare
Spoke of a & # 39; great & # 39; ; night after Olivier Ntcham & # 39; s dramatic last-sigh winner against Lazio took Celtic in the last 32 of the Europa League with two more games of group E.
Striker Ciro Immobile opened the score for the home team after seven minutes, but Hoops winger James Forrest was rightly put in the 38th minute with a great finish.
Then, in the fifth minute of extra time at the end of an exciting game, midfielder Ntcham, for Ryan Christie, ended a counterattack to secure a 2. -1 victory.
It was Celtic's first victory in Italy in 13 attempts and kept them at the top of their section with a guarantee for European football after Christmas.
The goal also achieved a remarkable double over the Serie A side and Lennon said: & I am so happy and proud of the team.
& # 39; Not only winning the game, but also the way they played the game, the character, the courage and above all, real quality.
& # 39; It was another Titanic game, a brilliant game to watch and it was a game that we really deserved to win.
& # 39; come and play and play well; This team continues to set new limits. We qualified after four games. That is unheard of for Celtic in Europe.
& # 39; It's a great evening, not just for me, the players, the board and of course the great support we had at the stadium tonight.
& # 39; It is historical. It is a privilege for me to coach these players and work with my backroom staff who have incredible jobs behind the scenes.
& # 39; We are currently in a good place. It is done as far as it qualifies for the new year.
& # 39; We have a lot of work to do in our own country, but it is a violent ge evening for the team and the club. & # 39;
At the place where it is ranked compared to Celtic's famous 2-1 Champions League victory over Barcelona in 2012 over Parkhead in Lennon's first term as Hoops boss, the Northern Irishman said: & # 39; It's just behind it.
& # 39; Defeating Barcelona was a great evening and a great achievement for the club, but this is almost right to come here and play a team that is in excellent condition, full of international stars. & # 39;
With games still remaining against Rennes i n Glasgow and Romania have Celtic 10 points, Cluj have nine, Lazio three and Rennes one.
Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi said: & There is still hope. Celtic beat us at home and on the road, so maybe they can beat Cluj in Romania and we have to beat Rennes and Cluj.
& # 39; We hit the post, their goalkeeper saved a lot and we also had the referee against us because at 1-1 there was a clear penalty for us that was not given to us, so it had can change the game. & # 39;
& # 39; I don't think I have been involved in such a game & # 39 ;: Frank Lampard hopes his senior Chelsea stars for their character in chaotic Ajax draw
- Frank Lampard praised his seniors after Chelsea & # 39; s exciting draw with Ajax
- The Champions League roller coaster had two red cards and eight goals
- The former midfielder said he was one of the craziest nights in his long Chelsea career
Frank Lampard praised the leadership of his senior players after Chelsea dragged himself back from 4-1 down to pull 4-4 with Ajax in an extraordinary collision that Chelsea's manager said was one of the craziest nights in his long Chelsea career.
The Champions League collision produced two red cards, two own goals, and 90-minute roller coaster action at Stamford Bridge.
& # 39; I had some crazy nights and some great nights, & # 39; Lampard said afterwards. "I don't think I was involved in such a game."
Chelsea & # 39; s youngsters stole the headlines this season, but on Stamford Bridge, Jorginho scored two penalties and Cesar Azpilicueta also delivered one just after Chelsea reached a crucial point in the race for the knockout phase.
& # 39; For a performance like this, you need characters and personalities. Down at 3-1 during rest, it is easy to turn it in, "Lampard said.
& # 39; Even easier at 4-1 and give it up. But we never did that. I keep talking about the experienced players, the Jorginhos, cool head, the management of the team, (Mateo) Kovacic, Willian for sure but (Cesar) Azpilicueta, those players really pushed tonight and I thought it was great. & # 39;
goals from Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga – and a header from Quincy Promes raised Ajax 3-1 during the break before Donny van de Beek delivered the fourth of the visitors.
But after Azpilicueta had added to Jorginho & # 39; s early penalty, the game quickfire red cards for Ajax pair Daley Blind and Joel Veltman.
Jorginho and teenager Reece James then saved a point, while Ajax boss Erik ten Hag angrily left for the officials.
& # 39; We certainly earned four points, & # 39; he said about the two games with Chelsea. "But some decisions … were against us, and we only have one point."
Lleyton Hewitt happy to make Davis Cup exile & other character # 39; Nick Kyrgios & # 39; to end … even after he said that the bad boy of Aussie did not meet his & # 39; cultural standards & # 39; met
- Lleyton Hewitt delighted to bring Nick Kyrgios back into Davis Cup team Kyrgios as a & # 39; other character & # 39; but praised the 24-year-old
Wayward tennis talent Nick Kyrgios may be a different character & # 39, but the Davis Cup team from Australia is better with him, according to Captain Lleyton Hewitt.
Hewitt, who left Kyrgios out of a February tie against Bosnia and Herzegovina due to & # 39; failing & # 39; cultural norms, has ended the 24-year exile by appointing him in the team for next month's renewed final in Spain
Twice Grand Slam champion Hewitt has looked beyond Kyrgios' recent behavior, including a major collapse at a tournament in Cincinnati in August, and then the ATP Tour of the gentlemen as & # 39; pretty corrupt & # 39; stamped during the US Open.
Kyrgios earned a suspended six-month ban for those violations in September, but it only applies to the ATP Tour and not to the Davis Cup.
& # 39; Nick is a different character and I understand that and we don't always go to put everyone in the same box, "Hewitt told reporters on Tuesday.
" You are dealing with different personalities in all kinds of sports, and I feel like I know Nick as well as everyone else.
& # 39; I feel like he did everything I needed in the past when I was on the Davis Cup pitch and it was part of the team. He did not set foot in the wrong way. & # 39;
World number 30 Kyrgios, a devastating player when motivated and injury free, joins Alex de Minaur, John Millman, Jordan Thompson and doubles specialist John Peers in the Australia team for his first Davis Cup- occur in almost two years.
Australia has been merged with Belgium and Colombia in Group D for the 18-national finals in Madrid from November 18-24.
Hewitt said he and Kyrgios had repaired fences in March at Indian Wells and had regular contact.
& # 39; I received a message (from him) with the message & # 39; mate, I want to be back in the team & # 39;, & # 39; added the 38-year-old
& # 39; The great thing is that he also has a good relationship with all players.
& # 39; It's about that he wants to be part of the team and the right things. day in day out.
& # 39; I'd rather have him on my team. & # 39;
The visitors increased the pressure After a scoreless first half at Dens Park
The visitors increased the pressure After a scoreless first half at Dens Park
The visitors increased the pressure After a scoreless first half at Dens Park
The visitors increased the pressure After a scoreless first half at Dens Park
Odonnne Edouard converted to James Forrest cut-back
] The visitors increased the pressure after a scoreless first half, but it seemed that Odysseus Edouard, the second farmer, withdrew to James Forrest for a dramatic winner
] Interim boss Lennon said: & # 39; I said halfway through that we will wait until the 49th minute of the second half when we need it and they were true to their word, following instructions from
I am not going to analyze the game now.
& # 39; Today's goal was to win the game, we did that;
Lennon, who took over until the end of the season in February Brendan Rodgers left for Leicester, laid down his own exuberant goal celebrations on & # 39; relief, emotions, interest & # 39;
He said: & # 39; It is not easy to come in right now, Rodgers & # 39;)
& # 39; So I had to do it bit by bit and what you saw there was
The next one from Celtic & eight's remaining competition matches after the international break against Parkhead and Lennon insists that the pressure on his side was illuminated by the late victory.
The Northern Irishman said: & # 39; It is significant.
& # 39; It means we don't have to win. Ideally, we would like to be on the line as quickly as possible, but with the other teams around us.
& # 39; The gap between the first and second is greater than between second and third place, which is significant again
Boss Jim McIntyre was surprised at the length of time added by referee Bobby Madden believed it
& # 39; I thought we deserved a point. & # 39;
& # 39; I thought we deserved a point. & # 39; for the effort we put into the game, but in the end we're done in the last minute or two of the six that were added.
& # 39; We didn't have to get better in the last third, we didn't do that. don't do what Celtic did. They were relentless. That's why we haven't picked up enough points since I got here. & # 39;