Paris Saint-Germain right-back Achraf Hakimi will be challenging Lionel Messi and Neymar to freekick duties at the club very soon.
This is following his stunning AFCON free-kick in Morocco’s 2-1 last 16 wins over Malawi. With such a sweet take, the Morrocan is likely to compete with superstar clubmates Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé for set-piece duties.
Hakimi had earlier in the tournament bagged a stunning freekick in Morocco’s 2-2 draw with Gabon. He now did it again; this time around, a winner for the north African nation who booked their first knockout stage win since 2004 after a 2-1 over Malawi in the round of 16 – on Tuesday.
Hakimi’s masterpiece was a breathtaking dipping curler into the top right-hand corner that showed all the precision and power necessary to compete with the best in the world.
Although the superstars might be ahead of him in the duties, the Ligue 1 giant already know that they have another reliable hand in the right back.
Speaking after the AFCON game with ESPN, Hakimi noted that the club has a lot of players who can take free-kicks. He further noted that since Neymar, Mbappé and Messi can take freekicks, it will be difficult for him to be considered.
He also promised to speak to them when he returns from national team duty as he focuses on helping his team at the tournament in Cameroon.
Reacting to the freekick, Morocco coach Vahod Halilhodzic lauded him for his work ethic and the added value he brings to the Lions of Atlas.
While noting that the PSG defender always wants to shoot and take free-kicks after training, the former LOSC, Rennes, PSG and Nantes coach said Hakimi is among the last there in training, who always taking free kicks from both sides.
He described him as a lad with remarkable technique and a phenomenal shot, which have been a real weapon for Morrocco when the team’s play isn’t working.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed