PSG: Hakimi to challenge Messi, Neymar, Mbappé | OneFootball

PSG: Hakimi to challenge Messi, Neymar, Mbappé

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Paris Saint-Germain right-back Achraf Hakimi's stunning AFCON free-kick in Morocco's 2-1 last 16 win over Malawi has him looking to compete with superstar clubmates Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé for set-piece duties…

After bagging a stunning free-kick in Morocco's 2-2 draw with Gabon in the group stage, star right-back Achraf Hakimi did it again to hand the north African nation their first knockout win since 2004 - 2-1 over Malawi in the round of 16 - on Tuesday. Hakimi: 'I'll speak to them'

A breath-taking dipping curler into the top right-hand corner, Hakimi's masterpiece showed all the precision and power necessary to compete with the best in the world - which is exactly what Hakimi has to do at PSG, where a certain trio of superstars would seem to be above him in the pecking order. "In Paris, we have a lot of players who can take free kicks. There's Messi, Neymar, Mbappé and I try, but it's difficult. I'll speak to them when I get back to Paris," Hakimi said in a post-match interview with ESPN. "Right now I'm focusing on the national team, but afterwards, we'll see what happens in Paris."

Halilhodzic: 'Remarkable technique and a phenomenal shot'

Morocco coach Vahod Halilhodzic isn't quite ready to hand the uber-talented youngster penalty-taking duties, but he cannot fault the youngster's work ethic and the added value he brings to the Lions of Atlas. "After training he always wants to shoot and take free kicks," former LOSC, Rennes, PSG and Nantes coach Halilhodzic said. "He's among the last there in training, always taking free kicks from both sides. Now he even wants penalties, but I've said to him: 'When you're taking penalties for Paris, then you can take them for us'. With Neymar and Mbappé there, it won't be easy. But he's a lad with remarkable technique and a phenomenal shot, and that's a real weapon for us when the team's play isn't working - there he is to score and all the better for us."

High praise Hakimi's qualities don't fly under the radar at Paris Saint-Germain either, with a certain Kylian Mbappé taking to Twitter during the Malawi win to big up his high-flying teammate in his Man of the Match performance.

"I'm really happy to hear those kinds of words from my friend Kylian, he's also a great player and I respect him a lot," Hakimi said. "He has done so many great things, and it's good to hear such things from this kind of player."

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