Real Madrid and Morocco star Brahim made back-to-back starts and showed glimpses of his quality as Spain were held to a draw by Brazil

Brahim excels for Morocco as Spain are held to a draw

El centrocampista marroquí #10 Brahim Diaz se lleva la mano al corazón antes del partido de fútbol amistoso internacional entre Marruecos y Angola en el estadio Adrar en Agadir, Marruecos, el 22 de marzo de 2024 -Foto de FADEL SENNA / AFP
Morocco's midfielder #10 Brahim Diaz holds his hand on his heart before the international friendly football match between Morocco and Angola at Adrar Stadium in Agadir, Morocco, on March 22, 2024 - Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP

After the daisy was plucked by choosing Morocco over Spain, it took just two games to convince the coach of the Atlas Lions. The Real Madrid star has had a near-perfect fit with the Moroccan side. Brahim Diaz was the last piece Morocco coach Walid Regragui needed to complete his midfield. 

  1. Is Brahim Diaz an underrated player? 
  2. Is Brahim one of the best debutants in Morocco's history?
  3. Does Morocco have the ability to repeat the feat of the 2022 World Cup?

The Real Madrid player's appearance could be significant at the start of the new project, which was a big surprise ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, aimed at laying the foundations for his versatility on the pitch.

He was given the number 10 shirt, but it doesn't seem like a simple gesture for a sought-after player. "To get him to come to Morocco, we had to convince him. It was simple: offer a project in a country with ambition," said the coach. The communion between Brahim Diaz and the fans is total. 

With only two training sessions before the match against Angola, Brahim has already shown on the pitch why he deserves to be considered a " big player ". His role in Morocco seems to revolve around the front line. He is always responsible for making plays for a team that lacks talent in three quarters of the pitch. 

Brahim Díaz celebra después de marcar gol durante el partido de LaLiga EA Sports entre CA Osasuna y Real Madrid CF en el Estadio El Sadar el 16 de marzo de 2024 en Pamplona, España – PHOTO/JOSE BRETON/NurPhoto/NurPhoto vía AFP)
Brahim Diaz celebrates after scoring a goal during the LaLiga EA Sports match between CA Osasuna and Real Madrid CF at El Sadar Stadium on March 16, 2024 in Pamplona, Spain – PHOTO/JOSE BRETON/NurPhoto/NurPhoto vía AFP)

Is Brahim Diaz an underrated player? 

Despite always having a secondary role in his teams, Brahim Diaz has finally exploded. Always in the background, he never shied away from his dream of playing football. Throughout his career, he has been a player that everyone has raved about but who, all too often, has always been demanded and has had to adapt to playing for others, and not the other way around. 

This is further proof that Morocco wants to build a competitive team around the Madrid player. The opportunity to play for Morocco has not only been a huge leap for the World Cup semi-finalist, but it has also meant that Díaz has been able to feel like a key player in a project that seems to have no ceiling. 

El entrenador de la selección marroquí, Walid Regragui, recibe el Premio al Entrenador Masculino del Año durante los Premios de la Confederación Africana de Fútbol (CAF) 2023 en Marrakech el 11 de diciembre de 2023
Morocco national team coach Walid Regragui receives the Men's Coach of the Year Award at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2023 Awards in Marrakech on 11 December 2023

Brahim is aware that there is a clear difference between the role he has assumed in Carlo Ancelotti's team in recent months and the role that Regragui could demand. In his first two games in a Morocco shirt, against Angola and Mauritania, the new Moroccan '10' almost always acted as a hook, linking up plays in midfield areas and allowing his team-mates to attack.  

Morocco wants to create plays based on his abilities. Whether in a 4-3-3 as an attacking interior player who moves freely in various zones, or the 4-2-3-1, where he is the central axis as a playmaker, Brahim Diaz is the core of the attack. 

Aficionados marroquíes se reúnen en París para el partido de Marruecos contra Portugal, en el Copa Mundial de la FIFA Qatar 2022, el 10 de diciembre de 2022 - REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER
Moroccan fans gather in Paris for Morocco's match against Portugal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on 10 December 2022 - REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER

Is Brahim one of the best debutants in Morocco's history?

The Malagueño put in a great performance on the pitch with great technique, and this was confirmed by the big data, giving him an 8.5 and 7.5 rating in both matches. Putting those numbers into perspective, there has only ever been one better debutant in European football, Manchester City striker Haaland with Norway averaging 8.3. 

From the very first moment, Brahim understood what Morocco's passion and excitement for football is all about when, on hearing the national anthem and seeing his grandmother's joy, he showed his sensitive side. 

This match, like the Angola game, had everything to be another showcase for Brahim and his team. The first half was marked by a midfield battle as Morocco struggled to break through Mauritania's solid defence. 

Despite the late equaliser against Mauritania, the Atlas Lions' superiority was reflected in their 74% possession of the ball, even if it did not translate into goals at the Grand Stade d'Agadir. It was a close game. 

The Moroccan coach himself confirmed this after the game when he spoke to the TV right after the match, admitting that his team made mistakes and "fell into the trap" of the Mauritanians. Despite dominating possession, Morocco struggled to find space in their opponents' box, while Mauritania organised their defence well and waited patiently for the opportunity to counter-attack.

REUTERS/CARL RECINE - En 2030, Marruecos se unirá a las filas de las naciones anfitrionas de la Copa Mundial
In 2030, Morocco will join the ranks of World Cup host nations - REUTERS/CARL RECINE

Does Morocco have the ability to repeat the feat of the 2022 World Cup?

The Atlas Lions have not achieved recent success by chance. Packed with stars, the Alawi side is one of the teams to watch for the upcoming tournaments. The combination of players playing in the big leagues and players from local teams is perfect. 

While some bring experience, others reflect the passion for football that this golden generation has brought to the hearts of the fans. 

Logo Mundial 2030
World Cup 2030 logo

This new dimension of Moroccan football creates more expectations among fans, which increases the attractiveness of Moroccan football and the businesses that surround it. Better audiences, more investment and greater prosperity for this beautiful game.