Achraf Hakimi: Morocco’s marauding full back keeps adding to list of accomplishments

Achraf Hakimi’s career has already seen him accomplish a lot despite his young age

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Morocco defender Achraf Hakimi has already achieved a lot for a player who has just turned 24.

He has played for Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Paris St Germain, winning the Champions League, Italian and French league titles with those clubs respectively, has more than 50 caps and is preparing for his second World Cup.

The Spain-born right back came through Real’s youth academy before breaking into the senior team in 2017. He was part of the side that won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles in the 2017-18 campaign.

But Hakimi, who can also play at left back and wing-back, could not hold down a regular place at Real, joining Borussia Dortmund on loan in 2018.

He starred in Germany over two seasons with Dortmund before joining Inter where he won Serie A in 2020-2021 before moving to Paris Saint-Germain the following season, adding the Ligue 1 title to his collection of silverware last term.

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A modern full back, Hakimi has a knack of pushing forward down the flank, unsettling backlines with his efficiency. He has scored more than 20 goals at club level, a decent tally for a defender who made his professional debut five years ago.

Hakimi is equally efficient on the left side, a position in which he excelled at Dortmund.

With Morocco, Hakimi played as a right back under former boss Vahid Halilhodzic but new coach Walid Regragui, who succeeded the Bosnian in September, fielded him at left back in Morocco’s last friendly before the World Cup against Paraguay to make way for Bayern Munich right back Nassir Mazraoui, who has recently returned to the Morocco fold.

But in Qatar, Hakimi will likely play in his preferred right back position as Morocco hope his tireless runs down the wing and perfect execution of set-pieces, from which he scored twice in the Africa Cup of Nations last January, will lead the Atlas Lions to a surprise qualification for the second round from a tough group including World Cup runners-up Croatia, Belgium and Canada.

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