‘Real Madrid was my home and I wanted to fight for my place’ – Hakimi clears air on Inter Milan switch

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The 22-year-old full-back is enjoying a fine debut campaign in Milan and he secured the Scudetto with Antonio Conte’s side on Sunday

Inter Milan defender Achraf Hakimi hinted that circumstances around the coronavirus pandemic forced Real Madrid to release him last July.

The Morocco international returned to the Spanish capital last year following the completion of his two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund but he immediately sealed a permanent move to Italy.

Hakimi has been a key figure at Inter Milan this season and he helped the Nerazzurri win the Serie A title with his contribution of seven goals and six assists after 33 league appearances.

Despite his fine performances in Italy this season, the 22-year-old said he was keen ti fight for his place in Zinedine Zidane’s team.

“I don’t know if Zidane or the club. There was also the issue of the pandemic,” Hakimi told El Chiringuito via Marca when asked about his Real Madrid exit.

“I don’t really know what happened, but I don’t blame Zidane or the club, I think there are circumstances that arose from the pandemic and everything and I had to leave.

“People talk, people do not know the reality. There comes a time it bothers a little that they take me as being afraid of winning or fighting for the position.

“I was the first one who asked if I could be there to win the position because I felt qualified for it.”

Hakimi developed in Real Madrid’s youth teams from 2006 to 2016 before making his first-team and La Liga debut on October 1, 2017 against Espanyol.

He further explained his intention to remain at Santiago Bernabeu before he was handed a five-year contract by Inter.

“They had the opportunity at the time. I have to clarify people saying that I did not want to win the position and it is not like that,” he continued.

“Everyone knows, and the last time we spoke, that Real Madrid was my home and that I would like to play there, but due to circumstances I think the club decided otherwise, but everyone knows that I would have liked to be there and win the position.”

On Sunday, a 1-1 draw between Sassuolo and Atalanta secured Inter Milan’s first league title after 11 years but he is yet to receive congratulatory messages from his former employers.

“I watched Sassuolo-Atalanta. This is a significant title for me. We were all waiting for Atalanta’s result. I think my first season in Italy has been very positive,” he added.

“At the moment, neither Zidane nor Florentino [Perez] have congratulated me.”

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