• MOROCCAN WELL OILED Achraf Hakimi: He’s the galloping Real Madrid right back set for a starring role with Morocco at World Cup 2018

    He made his debut in La Liga and the Champions League this term, and has already been capped by the North Africans seven times aged just 19.

    REMEMBER the name, behold his astonishing talent.

    Morocco defender Achraf Hakimi could be a stand out star for the North Africans in Russia at this summer's World Cup.

    He showed fleeting glimpses of his ability for Real Madrid this term, even making his Champions League debut against Spurs at Wembley.

    But don't be deterred by the disappointing 1-1 home draw Los Blancos laboured to because Hakimi gave a good account of himself that night.

    The 19-year-old marauding right back has the ability to play at centre half and bags of potential to make it at the top level of the game.

    Born in Getafe, near Madrid, Hakimi could've represented La Roja.

    However, his parents are both from Morocco which was something the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) were only too aware of.

    They courted Hakimi from his early teens and convinced the wonderkid his future would be better served with them.

    And you have to have made them right, because seven caps later he's a fully-fledged international.

    He made his full international debut, coming on as a substitute in the Atlas Lions’ 4-0 win over Canada, aged just 17, well before he got a start at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    It made him Real Madrid’s first ever Moroccan international and helped him win the country’s Most Promising Young Player award.

    Hakimi joined Real Madrid’s La Fabrica academy in July 2006 and played alongside Zinedine Zidane’s son Luca in their youth set up.

    That gave him the perfect platform to showcase his skill in front of his future


    With competition for the right back spot at Real fierce, Hakimi had to play deputy to Dani Carvajal in the star-studded squad.

    But when Carvajal was absent against Espanyol back in October, Hakimi stepped into his shoes to make a solid debut.

    'Arra', as he is affectionately known to his teammates had bided his time, but it was worth it.

    He was offered the chance at the beginning of the season to move to Alaves on a season-long loan to gain valuable first team experience.

    But when Danilo was sold to Manchester City, manager Zinedine Zidane stepped in and asked Hakimi to reconsider.

    He guaranteed him up to 20 games if he stayed put.

    Hakimi has played 17 games in all competitions for Real this season, scoring two goals.

    And back to that starring role against Spurs last October...

    There was a moment in the game where Hakimi showed what he's capable of.

    Retrieving the ball on the wing, he drop-kicked a cross right on the head of Cristiano Ronaldo whose subsequent header banged off the upright.

    His athleticism, skill and ingenuity was there to see, in all its glory in one take.

    Hakimi is set to become the youngest ever Real Madrid player to feature in a World Cup Finals come June, beating the record of Sergio Ramos who turned out for Spain in 2006.

    If he has half the career his defensive teammate has had, he'll certainly be able to hold his head high.


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