Barcelona forward Munir El-Haddadi, who is currently on loan at Spanish La Liga club Alaves, has expressed his desire to represent Morocco at next year’s world showpiece in Russia.

The 22-year-old played for Spain in a 2016 European Championship qualifier three years ago, but has asked FIFA for special dispensation.

El-Haddadi was born in El Escorial to a Moroccan father and Spanish mother – thus giving him dual citizenship. He made his competitive debut for the country of his birth in a 5-1 thrashing of Macedonia, but hasn’t played for La Furia Roja since.

“I’d like to play for Morocco at the World Cup,” El-Haddadi told EFE. “It is a difficult group and it is a coincidence that they have been drawn with Spain.”

The Atlas Lions have been seeded in Group B alongside Iran, Portugal and Spain as they make their long-awaited return to the world stage.

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