Morocco hand ex-Spain & Barca star El Haddadi first call-up

Morocco hand ex-Spain & Barca star El Haddadi first call-up
Sevilla's Sergio Reguilon (R) celebrates with teammate Munir El Haddadi (L)

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Oct 03, 2020. 09:00

Former Spain international and FC Barcelona forward Munir El Haddadi has been included in the Morocco squad.

This is despite the 25-year-old player having represented Spain in a 2016 European Championship qualifier against Northern Macedonia in September 2014.

The world football governing body, FIFA recently changed rules as players can now switch nationalities if they have not played in more than three competitive games.

However, they must not include World Cup games and continental matches at senior levels and they must have been below 21 years of age in all the appearances.

Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic explained why he called up El Haddadi ahead of the Atlas Lions’ friendly matches against Senegal and DR Congo which will be played later this month.

“I have been talking to Munir for the last six months and he has expressed his desire to play for Morocco,” Halilhodzic said on Goal.

“I have profited from this lockdown period to observe, analyse and know the players I need like Munir and Ayman (Barkook and former German youth player). They are the type of players the national team needs.

“This problem of dual nationality exists in so many countries, where players have to make a choice at an early age.”

El Haddadi, who is on the books of Spanish La Liga side Sevilla, was born in Spain to a Spanish mother and a Moroccan father.

“What is important is that I shouldn’t be the person to make pressure on the player to change his decision,” the experienced coach continued.

“They are here because they are attached to their country of origin. It is their decision without any pressure.

“They are Moroccans like all the other Moroccans. They are serious and they want to be here and achieve something for their country.”

El Haddadi netted 10 goals in 16 appearances for Spain’s under-21 national team.

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