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The reasons why Real Madrid forward Brahim Díaz has decided to play for Morocco instead of Spain

Brahim has played one senior international for La Roja but has opted to switch to the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists.

Brahim has played one senior international for La Roja but has opted to switch to the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists.
Chema MoyaEFE

The Brahim Díaz international tug-of-war is over. AS has learned the Real Madrid attacker has chosen to represent Morocco over Spain, despite having already played once for La Roja.

When could Brahim Díaz play his first game for Morocco?

The determination the Atlas Lions and their coach Walid Regragui have shown to convince the 24-year-old to switch allegiances has been key, and Díaz is now expected to be called up for friendly games against Angola (Friday 22 March) and Mauritania (Tuesday 26 March).

AS had previously revealed that the player was in the final stages of the process to officially obtain Moroccan nationality, which is now almost complete. In the time in between, Brahim has come to the decision to play for the North African nation.

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente had himself been hoping to call the Madrid man up for March friendlies against Colombia and Brazil, which will now not happen, with Morocco having seemingly made a bigger effort to get Díaz onside.

The former Manchester City and AC Milan forward was born in Malaga in Spain to a Spanish mother but qualifies to play for Morocco through his father.

When did the Real Madrid star play for Spain?

Brahim played almost 30 games for various Spanish youth teams and even made his debut for the full team, albeit in bizarre circumstances. On the eve of Euro 2020, which was played in 2021, Sergio Busquets tested positive for covid-19, which led to the whole senior team being replaced by the under-21s for a friendly against Lithuania.

The young Spaniards won 4-0, with Díaz scoring the second goal. He was called up by Luis Enrique later that year for 2022 World Cup qualifying games against Greece and Sweden but failed to get on the field.

In the two and a half years since then, Brahim has taken the step to the next level with Milan and Real Madrid. In three seasons in Italy, he helped the Rossoneri win Serie A and reach the Champions League semi-finals, becoming a key figure under boss Stefano Pioli.

Why has Brahim Díaz chosen Morocco and not Spain?

However, he was overlooked by de la Fuente for the Tokyo Olympics, again in 2021, and didn’t feature in the most recent UEFA Nations League campaign. Those omissions have been a big factor in Díaz rejecting Spain for Morocco, as well as the RFEF (the Spanish Soccer Federation) seemingly leaving it too late to turn on the charm. In sharp contrast to Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal, for instance, who they have been in contact with for some time to ensure he doesn’t choose the Atlas Lions.

Brahim will now become an important player in a team that was the surprise package at the 2022 World Cup, reaching the semi-finals against all odds. With the Madrid star now on board alongside the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Bono, Morocco will hope to continue their growth on the world stage.

Brahim Díaz celebra el gol que marcó al RB Leipzig en el partido de ida de octavos de final de la Champions.
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Brahim Díaz scored the winning goal in the first leg of the Champions League round-of-16 tie against RB Leipzig. JAVIER GANDULDIARIO AS

A rising star for Madrid and now Morocco

After a slow start to the season upon his return to Madrid, Díaz has gone from strength to strength in recent times. His role under Carlo Ancelotti has increased in prominence and he has made the most of the game time he has been given (scoring eight goals and providing four assists in 1,371 minutes).

As also revealed by AS, he has become one of the faces of Adidas in Europe, signing a lucrative long-term sponsorship deal with the sportswear giants.

With the fight for his services now over, Brahim is expected to be called up by Regragui to make his debut for Morocco against Angola in the March international break.