Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fell into a spiral of 'drink and drugs' after tragic death of his father when he was just ten



Posted Sunday, February 16, 2020 by Thesun.co.uk

THE DEATH of Hakim Ziyech's father almost drove him from football for good.

Chelsea's £33.3million midfield new boy, 26, fell into a destructive spiral of drink and drugs after the tragedy when he was just ten.

Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fell into a spiral of 'drink and drugs' after tragic death of his father when he was just ten
Hakim Ziyech will join Chelsea at the end of the season

The youngest of nine children to a Dutch mother and Moroccan father, he loved the game from an early age.

And his dad was ever-present by his side during his time with local amateur side Reaal Dronten.

Life grew tougher as his father struggled more and more with multiple sclerosis.

Ziyech told Dutch newspaper De Volskrant: "That disease wrecked him. He could do less and less. No more walking, eating, talking.

"He had previously had a heart attack. He worked hard and smoked a lot.”

"I went to the living room. My father was dead. And there you are, a ten-year-old boy ."

In December 2013, the worst happened.

Ziyech told Algemeen Dagblad: "I remember it well, it was winter, just after Christmas.

"My father was in bed in the living room. He was sick for some time.

"I had to go to bed that night, but wanted to stay with him. Eventually I fell asleep on the edge of his bed with him.

"Around midnight I woke up and went upstairs to my bedroom.

"A few hours later, around three o'clock, I heard family members crying downstairs.

"I went to the living room. My father was dead. And there you are, a ten-year-old boy . . . ”

Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fell into a spiral of 'drink and drugs' after tragic death of his father when he was just ten
Hakim Ziyech, pictured as a youngster, fell into a spiral of drink and drugs

Ziyech was affected terribly by his father's passing.

He said: "I didn't go to school any more. Football didn't matter to me either. I was completely gone.”

Luckily for Ziyech, a guardian angel was there to bring him back.

Aziz Doufikar was a former Morocco international, the first footballer from the North African country to play in Holland.

Doufikar, who is still a youth worker  in  Dronten,  revealed: "After his father's death, Hakim went  completely off the rails. He drank, he smoked and also used drugs.

"I helped him as best I could to get him away from this bad path. I was his mentor, his father, his coach.

"I saw he was afraid to show  himself on the football field.

"I let him play a number of  tournaments and then I simply saw him grow.

"With a bit of luck, it worked out. Hakim flourished completely.”

At the age of 14, Ziyech joined Heerenveen and moved there to live with a host family.

After making his senior debut at the age of 19 and two years in the first team, he joined FC Twente.

Ziyech was made captain at the start of his second season but it was a controversial campaign.

He had played for Holland Under-19s and Under-21s but then switched allegiance to the country of his father.

Ziyech said: "Choosing one's national team is not done with the brain but with the heart. In my case without hesitation it was Morocco.

"I have always felt Moroccan even though I was born in Holland. Lots of people will never understand.”

Then Ziyech was stripped of the captaincy for attacking the club and its board, but still managed a career-best season of 17 goals and ten assists.

That attracted admirers including Burnley but he opted to join Ajax before his move to London.

STRONG-MINDED

And despite now being in the Premier League goldfish bowl, Ziyech has no time for the "puppet show” that surrounds football.

He told Algemeen Daglad: "I know about people and don't like fake people.

"It's a big puppet show and it's getting worse.

"The puppet show also depends on things like social media. It's destroyed the world.

"Everything becomes less personal, everything just has to be shown.”

Hopefully Ziyech can show top form when he finally arrives in West London this summer.

Ziyech does not care about big-name reputations — just ask Marco van Basten.

The new Chelsea midfielder, 26, debuted aged 19 at Heerenveen under Van Basten.

The legendary striker also bossed AZ Alkmaar before becoming assistant to Holland boss Danny Blind in 2015.

That autumn he branded Ziyech and Oussama Tannane "stupid” for switching from the Netherlands to Morocco.

But Ziyech blasted back: "Van Basten is a good name but not a top-level coach.

"He realised at AZ he was not suitable for it. He should have done that at Heerenveen.

"If you know people or have a big name, you will always get back to work. Quality counts with me.”



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