Morocco coach Halilhodzic backs Hakimi to ‘shine’ at Inter Milan

Achraf Hakimi Borussia Dortmund
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The burgeoning full-back has joined ranks with the Nerazzurri after his 14-year association with Real Madrid

Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic has tipped Achraf Hakimi to “shine” after completing a move to Inter Milan from Real Madrid.

The 21-year old joined the Nerazzurri in a €40 million five-year deal having spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund where he scored 12 goals and provided 17 assists in 73 competitive outings, winning the 2019 German Super Cup against Bayern Munich.

BVB were initially keen to tie Hakimi down permanently, but were put off by Real Madrid’s demands and instead opted for Belgian full-back Thomas Meunier whom they sighed on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.

“Hakimi has the right characteristics to shine in Italian football with Inter,” Halilhodzic told Al Arabi Al Jadeed as reported by Sempreinter.

"We’re talking about a young player who has a great future ahead of him and can really grow

“I’ll be watching his games at Inter carefully, he’s an important player in the Moroccan national team. I hope he can really perform well so he can continue to play with us with high morale.

“Hakimi is the kind of player who can shine in any league and with any team. Besides being a young man who makes speed in the game his strong point, he is ambitious and plays with enthusiasm, and I think he will give a lot to his new team.”

Hakimi made his debut for Morocco in a 4-0 friendly win over Canada on October 11, 2016, and has gone on to earn 28 caps, scoring two goals and providing five assists.

The Madrid-born player played every minute of the Atlas Lions 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia where they finished last with a point in a group that contained Spain, Portugal and Iran, finishing last. He was also ever-present during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations where the North Africans shockingly bowed out in the round of 16 to minnows Benin Republic via penalties.

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Halilhodzic took over after the Afcon disappointment and has managed six games so far, recording two wins, three draws and one defeat.

The most recent win was a 2021 Afcon qualifier away to Burundi on November 19, 2019, which ended 3-0 with Hakimi scoring the third and final goal, the others coming from Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri and Ajax Amsterdam full-back Noussair Mazraoui.

Bosnia-Herzegovina national Halilhodzic has been active on the African continent previously, managing national teams in Algeria and the Ivory Coast as well as Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca at club level.