Moroccan international defender Ashraf Hakimi and French striker Cillian Mbappe have maintained a close friendship since the former joined Paris Saint-Germain last season, but that relationship will end for at least 90 minutes tomorrow, Wednesday, when they will meet at the Al-Bayt Stadium in the semi-finals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Coincidentally, Hakimi’s task will be to supervise Mbappe, because he plays at the right-back position, and Mbappe takes the center of the left flank, and therefore the competition between them will be fierce for one goal, that is, to reach the final match. the first world wedding in the Middle East.
Hakimi’s task will be to stop his friend Killian’s fast runs and brilliant dribbling, while the Frenchman will have to stop the latter’s offensive support of his colleagues and find a gap in the Lions defense that none of the five teams (Croatia, Belgium, Canada, Spain and Portugal) were found.
Hakimi sent a special message to Mbappa after their two countries reached the round of 16, posting a “tweet” on his Twitter account in which he said, “See you soon my friend”, to which the latter responded with three hearts.
Hakimi didn’t feel comfortable at Saint-Germain when he left Inter, but he found what he needed in Mbappe, a member of his generation born in 1998.
Since his first steps in the capital, Mbappe has made life easier for Hakimi, thanks to his command of Spanish and shared interests, according to Le Parisien.
The talk went very quickly between the players, as the defender said: “We are two very good friends. The friendship between us arose naturally. What I like, he loves.. We have the same feelings.”
Hakimi, who comes from a family of Moroccan immigrants in Spain, like his French-born counterpart, who was born to a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother, found in Mbappe a true friend who helped him adapt to the Parisian capital, in a language he did not understand. , and he said earlier this year: “My close friendship with Mbappe has many reasons as we are two 23 year olds, we have the same tastes, we talk about music and video games, we go to restaurants or we hang out together; We love each other and it shows both on and off the pitch.”
The same player added: “I don’t speak much French with Mbappe, but in general I try to improve this language through him. I enjoy learning this language and my relationship with Mbappe helps me the most, even if it’s a bit difficult.”
Even in the midst of concentration and isolation from the outside world in the camp of the two teams, communication between the players remained uninterrupted, whether on the field through their penguin-style goal celebration or off the field through the visit of the French. star to his colleague at the residence hotel before facing Spain in the final price, or the interaction of Mbappe. In the decisive penalty shootout, Hakimi scored against Unai Simona of Spain.
Mbappé posted a ‘tweet’ in which he wrote: ‘Ashraf Hakimi’ along with some emoji including a picture of a penguin, a heart and a crown.
Hakimi drew attention with the “penguin dance” after scoring the decisive kick, the same dance he performed with his Spanish counterpart Sergio Ramos in one of Paris Saint-Germain’s matches this season.
The two have another identical celebration: the crouch, thumb on the nose, hand on the back, in the kettle position that Kiki celebrated when he scored against Poland (3-1) in the final score.
Hakimi and his colleague Mbappe have been close friends over the years, as they always shared photos of themselves outside the stadium together, and they also went on trips together, especially when they were in the capital, Madrid, at the end of last season when the French star was a candidate for a transfer to Real Madrid, Spain before he decided to stay in Paris.
At the time, Hakimi faced fire between those who saw him as instigating Mbappe to leave and those who saw him as a resentment against the royal club who refused to bring him back after his loan contract ended with Borussia Dortmund and then Inter Milan. .
Hakimi, who was followed by media cameras and microphones, came out to talk about Mbappe’s future, saying: “Mbappe is happy at Paris Saint-Germain and everyone sees his complete focus on the team and club goals, its context.”
But Hakimi returned and revealed, after Mbappé renewed his contract, that he knew he was staying and said in an interview with the Spanish channel Movistar: “My colleagues found out about the news of the contract extension the day it was announced on stadium, but since I’m friends with Kylian, I knew about it a few days ago.”
At the time, Hakimi was making fun of Spaniard Gerard Pique over the famous photo with the comment “remaining” he posted on social media to announce Brazilian Neymar’s return to Barcelona, with the latter signing for Paris Saint-Germain after a few days , and Hakimi said, laughing, “I should have taken a selfie like Pique: Kylian is here.”
“I will kill him”
Mbappé’s intuition was confirmed when he announced at Paris Saint-Germain’s pre-season training camp in Doha that Morocco and France would face each other in the World Cup.
“I will have to destroy my friend,” he said with a big smile and in English in a video posted by Capital Club on his official channel, to which Hakimi replied, “I will beat him.”
Mbappe laughed and replied: “It breaks my heart a little, but you know, football is football. I have to “kill him”.
Tomorrow’s match, on Wednesday, will be decisive between this very understanding duo, because the winner will take a step at the expense of the other to fulfill the dream that Mbappe touched and realized in the last draw in Russia in 2018, and Hakimi aims to hug him for the first time in his history. countries to confirm his excellent career in the current tournament.
Mbappe and Hakimi will put off their friendship during the match, but after it there will be another conversation!