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Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Oct 5 2019 08:42PM

Achraf Hakimi believes he is now a better player than the one who arrived at Borussia Dortmund on a two-year loan from Real Madrid in summer 2018.


The 20-year-old underlined his budding reputation as one of the most exciting full-backs in world football with a match-winning display away to Slavia Prague in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, contributing both goals in a 2-0 win.


In fact, calling Hakimi a full-back is to do the Morocco international a disservice; he excelled in a new role in Prague, playing in front of Raphael Guerreiro on the left flank.


"I was a bit surprised that the coach started me in such an attacking position," Hakimi said after the game. "I know I can play there, and I'm just happy that I could help the team to victory."


That he certainly did. His first goal came at the end of a 100-metre sprint from the edge of his own penalty area, at which point he still had the energy and composure to cut inside, wait patiently for an opening and fire Dortmund in front.


His second was no less impressive, again romping forward on the counter, this time in the 88th minute, before finishing from a tight angle, becoming the first Moroccan to score a Champions League brace in the process.


At full time, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc did not hold back in his assessment of the BVB No.5's display: "He had a superb match as an attacking winger and he decided the game for us."


While it was Hakimi's first outing on the left side of midfield, he did briefly play on the opposite flank earlier this season, replacing Jadon Sancho in the 74th minute of Dortmund's DFB Cup first-round victory away to KFC Uerdingen.


Such versatility is nothing new for the youngster, who has also made 16 appearances in all competitions at right-back for Lucien Favre's side, and another 20 at left-back.


Understandably, such a wealth and variety of top-level experience has had a positive effect on Hakimi, who had found his path to first-team football blocked at Real Madrid.


"Sometimes you have to have experiences like this, you have to go somewhere else so that you can get to where you want to be," he told Spanish publication AS. "In my case that meant coming to Germany and I have to say it's been great. I'm really grateful for the opportunity I've been given to keep on growing as a player and as a person.


"I've kicked on, which is something I needed to do, and I'm a better player and am getting regular football, playing week in, week out and really enjoying myself. All in all, it has a real impact on your confidence and I'm grateful to the club, the coaches and the players. That confidence is what allows you to really just express yourself and go out there and play with freedom. I'm now a different Achraf."


So much so that despite being schooled as a right-back in the Spanish capital he now feels capable of doing a job anywhere: "I wouldn't be able to tell you which side I'm more comfortable on. I've learned a lot playing on both flanks and I'm going to keep on doing so. I think it's a real string to my bow: any coach who has a player able to play on both wings, someone versatile, knows that this benefits the team."


Hakimi's rapid rise and top-level consistency have inevitably led to calls for him to return to Spain when his loan spell in Dortmund ends.


The player himself, however, is content to keep his head down and let his football do the talking: "There'll be time to talk to [Real coach] Zinedine Zidane later. He is focused on his own work right now and I’m very focused here. It wouldn’t be a disappointment or failure not to return to Madrid in the summer; what I want is to continue growing."

By The Atlas Lions, Oct 2 2019 07:14PM

Two Achraf Hakimi goals gave Borussia Dortmund a 2-0 win over Slavia Prague in Champions League Group F on Wednesday, a fast-paced match in which both sides spurned chances.


Defender Hakimi broke the deadlock in the 35th minute following a counter-attack, cutting inside the penalty area before firing past the Slavia keeper.


Hakimi doubled the lead in the 89th minute when he slotted home a pass from Julian Brandt following another break by the German side.




https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7530263/Slavia-Prague-0-2-Borussia-Dortmund-Hakimis-superb-brace-secures-vital-win-group-death.html

By The Atlas Lions, May 17 2019 10:11PM

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with the Moroccan star - but so too have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund


Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has confirmed that Hakim Ziyech will leave the club this summer - it's just a matter of where.


Ziyech, the left-footed Moroccan international, played a starring role in the Dutch club's run to the Champions League semi-finals.


The 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable campaign in Amsterdam, scoring 21 goals and registering 24 assists for Erik ten Hag's side as they completed a domestic double.


Scouts have flocked to the Johan Cruyff Arena to keep tabs on the club's star names, and Ziyech has impressed.


Manchester United , Arsenal and Liverpool have all been watching him - as have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the pair eyeing him as replacement for Arjen Robben and Christian Pulisic respectively.


Bayern have already made contact with the player's representatives.


Ziyech has been non-committal on his future thus far, saying after the club sealed the Dutch title this week "That [a move] will come by itself. When that happens, everyone will automatically hear it."


Ajax are resigned to losing the ex-Twente star for a relatively meagre £25million, due to a release clause in his contract.


But Overmars admits he will go with their blessing.


"He leaves when a top club comes," said the Ajax boss. "He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League.


"Many big clubs are buzzing around him. We promised Hakim [that we would] agree to a good transfer."


Ziyech was named the club's player of the year after his displays.


He is expected to be part of the Morocco squad at this summer's Africa Cup of Nations also, with the Atlas Lions having been drawn in Group D, alongside Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.


https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/ajax-confirm-hakim-ziyech-leave-16162139

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 1 2019 11:18AM

(Bundesliga.com) Borussia Dortmund full-back Achraf Hakimi has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2018/19 season with a broken metatarsal.


The Morocco international was a second-half substitute in BVB’s dramatic late win over Wolfsburg on Matchday 27 as they retook top spot in the Bundesliga table ahead of Bayern Munich.


Hakimi, however, lasted just 25 minutes before he himself had to be replaced after damaging his right foot.


The 20-year-old, who has made 21 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund in the first season of his two-year loan from Real Madrid, has since undergone surgery on his damaged foot back in the Spanish capita. He will miss Borussia’s remaining seven league matches, including Saturday’s potential title-decider at Bayern.


As well as contributing two goals and four assists, Hakimi has proven a good-luck charm this season for his new club. Showing versatility to play at both right and left-back, he remained unbeaten in his first 17 Bundesliga appearances and has in fact lost just one of his 21 games in the German top flight.


It’s a blow to Lucien Favre’s side ahead of Der Klassiker after Hakimi himself came on for injured left-back Abdou Diallo. The Swiss coach already had issues in defence with right-back Lukasz Piszczek absent for several weeks with a heel injury. Former first-choice left-back Marcel Schmelzer has featured just 11 times this season, and may be needed at the Allianz Arena for his first league appearance since January.

By The Atlas Lions, Feb 12 2019 12:47PM

Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi market value has tripled since he joined Borussia Dortmund on a loan from Real Madrid.


By Morocco World News -


Rabat – Football website Transfermarkt has reported that Achraf Hakimi’s market value has jumped three times after a successful half-season with Borussia Dortmund.


Transfermarkt, specialized in defining the market value of players, has valued Achraf Hakimi’s at €25 million, after being esteemed at €7.5 million with Real Madrid when he left in July 2018.


When Hakimi played with Real Madrid, he rarely featured in matches. He was deemed surplus to requirement, pushing Real Madrid to loan him to Borussia Dortmund for two years.


According to many football reports, Hakimi does not want to return to Real Madrid to be a substitute again, especially after improving his footballistic skills and guaranteeing a permanent spot as an undoubted starter at his current German club.


With 49 points and 20 matches played, Borussia Dortmund is ranked first in Bundesliga, the top German football league.

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 26 2019 07:56PM

(Ahram online) Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund scored three times in seven minutes to demolish lowly Hanover 96 5-1 on Saturday and move nine points clear at the top of the table.


Dortmund captain Marco Reus hit the post and Raphael Guerreiro also went close in the first half before Achraf Hakimi thundered in to give the hosts the lead in the 24th minute.


The Morocco international set up Reus for his 12th league goal of the season in the 60th minute before Dortmund turned on the afterburners, scoring twice more through Goetze two minutes later and Guerreiro in the 67th to leave the Hanover defence in tatters.


Marvin Bakalorz snatched a consolation goal for the visitors in the 86th minute after a superb solo run and a deflected effort before Axel Witsel completed Dortmund's win in the 90th.


The Ruhr valley club, who take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League next month, are now on 48 points, nine ahead of second-placed Bayern Munich, who host VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.


Borussia Moenchengladbach joined them on 39 points after their 2-0 win over Augsburg.

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 10 2019 12:52PM

Juventus won’t allow Medhi Benatia to leave the club in the January transfer window, despite interest from Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.


The Moroccan defender has spent much of the season on the bench, despite playing well last season following Leonardo Bonucci defecton to AC Milan the summer before.


As such, Corriere Dello Sport and others report that Benatia has grown frustrated at a lack of playing time and is considering a move away.


The reports go on to suggest that Benatia’s agent Houssine Kharja met with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici on Tuesday but was told that the Bianconeri have ‘have no intention’ of letting him go in January..


Benatia is more likely to be sold in the summer as he has one year left on his Juve contract and is being followed by the likes of Olympique Marseille, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.


https://www.juvefc.com/juventus-block-benatia-exit/

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