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From World Cup semi-finalist to unnecessary at his club

Selim Amala was one of the big names for Morocco on their way to fourth place at the 2022 World Cup.

The midfielder was among coach Walid Regraghi’s most-used players, featuring in the Atlas Lions’ seven matches in Qatar and starting in the elimination of Spain in the round of 16 and Portugal in the quarter-finals.

But after the Moroccans’ phenomenal performance at the 2022 World Cup, where they became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup, the return to reality in Belgium has been tough.

Amala’s contract with local Standard Liège expires in the summer. This means that from January 1, the 26-year-old midfielder will have the right to negotiate with other clubs about his future. Amala does not want to extend his contract with Standard, which is why he was sent to the reserves.

“We decided to send Selim Amala and three other players to the reserves – club president Pierre Locht admitted. – There is no reason to allow players who want to leave without money to increase their price.

We won’t do other clubs’ dirty work. The easiest thing would be to let him play, but that would send a bad signal to everyone else. To let someone continue to play even though you know he will leave penniless would spell death for this club.”

Senior coach Ronny Deila expressed his regret at the president’s decision: “It’s a shame. Selim was one of our best players in the last games before the World Cup… but you still have to maintain some club policy, follow some values ​​and take tough decisions. The club has shown what our path will be.”

Ahead of the start of the 2022 World Cup, Amala has four goals and one assist in nine games for Standard Liege since the start of the season. The Moroccan has been playing in the team since the summer of 2019, having 97 matches behind him with the “reds” team.

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