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Friday, 26 February 2021

Morocco's defender Hakimi unfazed by great Ronaldo, Isco performances in World Cup warm-up

Ahram Online , Thursday 29 Mar 2018
Achraf Hakimi
Real Madrid's Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi (R) fights for the ball during his side game against Espanyol (Photo: Reuters)
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Real Madrid's Moroccan fullback Achraf Hakimi is unfazed by the performances of Morocco's World Cup opponents Spain and Portugal in freindlies, adding that the Atlas Lions are preparing for a good World Cup to give joy for the Moroccan people.

In Russia, Hakimi is expected to line up against club teammates Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal, as Spain, Portugal and Iran will face Morocco in Group B.

Spain thrashed Argentina 6-1 in a friendly on Tuesday in a game that saw a great performance by Hakimi's teammate at Real Madrid Isco, who scored a hat-trick. In another friendly, Real Madrid Ace Cristiano Ronaldo gave Portugal a last-gasp win against Egypt after scoring twice at stoppage time, before the European champions slumped to a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands on Tuesday.

"No, we don't care that they won," Hakimi told Marca on Thursday.

"We know how good Spain are. They are a great team and we have to respect them a lot because they are a world champion. In any case, we'll try to give them a match."

"I'm very happy for Isco. He is a great player who deserves it. I hope that he doesn't score three goals against us, that it isn't his day, but for now I am happy for him."

When asked if he is worried about facing Ronaldo, Hakimi said "a little bit when the group was drawn, but we put that to the side because we are concentrated on the club."

The 19-year-old, who missed Morocco's two pre-World Cup friendly matches against Serbia and Uzbekistan, on Friday and Tuesday respectively, due to a muscle injury, believes that his side will perform well in this summer's World Cup.

Morocco defeated Serbia 2-1 before claiming an easy 2-0 win over Uzbekistan.

"We plan on a good World Cup to give our people joy. We hope to get out of the group, which won't be easy, but that is our goal."

However, the Moroccan defender said he has no intention of leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season summer, confirming that Madrid is the club of his life.

"I always see myself playing for Real Madrid. They are the club of my life. I am a lifelong Madridista and I hope to stay for many years."

Hakimi, who is a product of Madrid's youth academy, joining the club's youth system at eight, made six La Liga appearances, scoring once.

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