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Morocco trying to entice Leverkusen’s Bellarabi

Berlin-born Bellarabi has a Moroccan father, giving him dual nationality

Published: Updated:

Morocco are bidding to entice Bayer Leverkusen’s exciting winger Karim Bellarabi to their cause as they prepare to host next year’s African Nations Cup, according to German media reports.

Coach Badou Ezaki met with the 24-year-old, who has played for Germany at under-21 level but can still switch his allegiance if he applies to soccer’s world governing body FIFA.

Berlin-born Bellarabi has a Moroccan father, giving him dual nationality, and has not been capped in a competitive senior match which means he can change his international allegiance.

He had a meeting with Ezaki on Thursday, the Bild newspaper reported on Friday.

Morocco have long had a policy of seeking out players with Moroccan roots, born and based in Europe, for their national team and their current squad has players born in Belgium, Canada, France and the Netherlands.

Last month, Bellarabi scored the fastest goal in the Bundesliga’s 52-year history after nine seconds in Leverkusen’s 2-0 win at Borussia Dortmund on the opening weekend of the season.

Bellarabi returned to Leverkusen this term after a loan spell at Eintracht Braunschweig.

Morocco host the Nations Cup finals from Jan. 17-Feb. 8.