A Spanish newspaper claimed that Barcelona player, Moroccan star Abdel Samad Zalzouli, refused to call up his country to play in the African Nations Cup, after choosing to represent Spain at the international level.
The continental championship will start on the 9th of next month, when the best African players in the world will head to Cameroon.
The rising stars will also have the opportunity to shine and make a name for themselves in a major tournament.
But the Barcelona star will not be one of those players, according to the newspaper.Mundo Deportivo(Mundo Deportivo), a Catalan close to Barca, who claimed that the 20-year-old chose to represent Spain.
❗️ Abde has opted for Spain. [md]
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) December 30, 2021
The matter began with negotiations close to the player with officials in the Moroccan national team, to prevent him from representing his country, despite his inclusion in the squad.
New reports now indicate that Zalzouli chose Spain at the expense of Morocco.
The winger, born in Morocco, ascended to the Barcelona first team at the speed of a rocket, and played 8 matches in the Spanish League, and scored one goal this season.
— Pol Alonso 🎙⚽ (@Polyccio8) December 23, 2021
Wahid Halidzic, the coach of the Moroccan national team, had expressed his frustration with Barcelona’s handling of the situation.
Speaking – before reports were received about Zalzouli’s preference to represent Spain – Hlaudzic said that “Zelzoli is an incredibly talented young player, who will achieve a good career.”
He continued, “He has never rejected the Moroccan national team, and I think that Barcelona is causing problems because it does not respect the African Nations Cup enough.”
“The big European clubs and FIFA simply don’t respect African nations. This is a great competition and that’s why problems like this happen. I’m sure Zelzouli will appear in the national team camp on January 3. We are counting on him because we need a player who can break through, I think.” Barcelona will show wisdom and do the right thing.”
Xavi had praised his young player after scoring a goal against Osasuna earlier this month, and the Barcelona coach said, “Al-Zalzuli is an outstanding player, who can make a difference, not because of the goal.”
And if Mundo Deportivo reports are true, Zalzouli will be absent from the Moroccan team that faces Comoros, Gabon and Ghana in the group stage of the continental championship.