Morocco vs France : Hakimi and Mbappe’s strong friendship catches the eye

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The match between Morocco and France in the semi-finals of the World Cup – expected next Wednesday – will witness a confrontation of a special kind, which will attract the interest of football fans around the world, between the Moroccan national team defender Achraf Hakimi, and the striker of his French counterpart, Kylian Mbappe, who have had a close friendship since the first joined the ranks. Paris Saint-Germain two seasons ago.

It seems that this friendship will stop for at least 90 minutes next Wednesday, when they face off at Al-Bayt Stadium in the semi-finals of the “Qatar 2022” World Cup, which the “Atlas Lions” reached for the first time in their history.

What increases the excitement – also – and raises the value of the competition between them, is that defender Hakimi will be assigned to monitor Mbappe during the confrontation; Because he plays in the right defender position, while Mbappe occupies the left wing position.

As Hakimi’s task will be to stop the quick runs and evasions of his friend Kylian, at a time when the Frenchman will have to stop the latter’s offensive support for his colleagues, and find a gap in the Lions’ defense, which none of the five teams (Croatia, Belgium, Canada, Spain and Portugal) succeeded in finding.

Mutual support

Mbappe caught the eye one day before the Morocco-Spain match in the second round of the tournament, when he took advantage of the rest day that his coach gave him, to visit his friend in the Moroccan national team’s hotel, and to provide him with support before the confrontation.

Immediately after the match, which Morocco decided by a penalty shootout, Mbappe posted a tweet in which he placed a picture of a penguin, referring to the way Hakimi celebrated.

For his part, Hakimi sent a special message to Mbappe after their two countries qualified for the round of four, by posting a tweet on his Twitter account, in which he said, “See you soon, my friend,” and the latter replied with three hearts.

The expectations of the two friends were fulfilled

It seems that the expectations of the two friends were fulfilled, as Mbappe’s intuition was confirmed when he announced in the preparatory camp for Paris Saint-Germain in Doha before the start of the season that Morocco and France would meet in the World Cup.

“I will have to destroy my friend,” he said, with a wide smile and in English – in a video clip posted by the Capital Club on its official channel, to which Hakimi replied, “I will beat him.”

Mbappe laughed and replied: “It breaks my heart a little bit, but you know, football is football.”

Next Tuesday’s match is expected to be decisive between this harmonious duo; Because the winner will take a step at the expense of the other to achieve a dream he touched, and Mbappe contributed to it in the last edition of “Russia 2018”, and Hakimi aspires to embrace him for the first time in the history of his country, to confirm his wonderful career in the current tournament.

Mbappe and Hakimi will put their friendship aside during the match, but after that it will be another word.

How did this friendship arise?

When Hakimi landed in the “Capital of Lights” from Italian Inter Milan, he was not used to life in Paris; But he found what he needed in Mbappe, one of his generation, born in 1998.

Since his early days in the capital, Mbappe has made things easier for Hakimi thanks to his mastery of the Spanish language and sharing the same interests, as reported by Le Parisien.

In previous statements to them, the two players confirmed that the current between them passed quickly, and they stated in this regard, “We are two very good friends, and the friendship arose between us naturally. What I like, he loves too. We have the same feelings.”

Hakimi – who belongs to a Moroccan immigrant family in Spain, like his colleague born in France from a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother – found in Mbappe the loyal friend who helped him adapt in the Parisian capital, and a language he did not master.

As for the things that made this friendship stronger, Hakimi attributed it to the age factor. Since they are 23 years old, “we share the same tastes, we talk about music and video games, we go to restaurants or we spend time together, each one loves his companion, and this matter is noticed on and off the field,” according to Hakimi.

He added, “I don’t speak much French with Mbappe, but in general I try to improve this language with his help. I enjoy learning this language, and my relationship with Mbappe is one of the things that helps me learn it the most, even if it is a bit difficult.”

“Secrets keeper”

Even at the height of concentration and isolation from the outside world in the camp of the two teams, communication between the two players remained continuous, whether it was on the field – through their celebration of goals in the Penguin way – or outside it through the visit of the French star to his colleague in the hotel of residence, before facing Spain in the final price, Or Mbappe’s interaction with the decisive penalty shootout that Hakimi scored against Spaniard Unai Simon.

Mbappe posted a tweet in which he wrote: “Ashraf Hakimi,” along with some emojis, including a picture of a penguin, a heart, and a crown.

Hakimi celebrates scoring the penalty kick with a penguin dance

Likewise, Hakimi caught the eye with the penguin dance, after he scored the decisive kick, which is the same dance he performed with his Spanish colleague Sergio Ramos, in one of the Paris Saint-Germain matches this season.

The two share another identical celebration: squatting, the thumb on the nose, the hand on the back, and the teapot position, which Kiki celebrated when he scored Poland (3-1) in the final price.

Hakimi and his colleague Mbappe had a close friendship for years, as they used – always – to share their photos together outside the field, and they also travel together; Including: their presence in the capital, Madrid, late last season, when the French star was a candidate to move to Spanish Real Madrid, before he decided to stay in Paris.

At that time, Hakimi found himself in front of the fire of criticism, between those who considered him inciting Mbappe to leave, and those who saw him as dissatisfied with the royal club, which refused to return him to its ranks after the end of his loan with Borussia Dortmund, Germany, then Inter Milan.

Hakimi – who was being monitored by the media – went out to talk about the future of his French friend, to say, “Mbappe is happy in Paris Saint-Germain, and everyone sees his complete focus on the team and the club’s goals. I did not speak with Mbappe on this subject, but the media is the one who takes things out of context.” “.

But Hakimi returned and revealed – after Mbappe extended the contract – that he was aware that he was staying, and he said in an interview with the Spanish “Movistar” channel: “My colleagues learned about the news of his contract extension on the day he was announced at the stadium, but since I have a friendship with Kylian, I knew that a few days ago.” few”.

At the time, Hakimi mocked Spain’s Gerard Pique about the famous photo with the comment “Staying”, which he posted on social media, to announce the continuation of Brazilian Neymar with Barcelona, ​​while the latter signed with Paris Saint-Germain a few days later.

Hakimi said – at the time – laughing, “I should have taken a (selfie) picture like Pique .. Kylian is staying.”

Source: Agencies

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