Go on, admit it. You're not really surprised that another of Europe's hottest young talents has chosen to join Borussia Dortmund, are you? But who exactly is Achraf Hakimi, the 19-year-old on a two-year loan from Real Madrid? Scroll on down, as bundesliga.com has five key things to know about the latest addition to BVB's hand-picked conservatory.
1) Real Madrid graduate
Hakimi joined 'La Fabrica', Real's famed youth academy, at the age of eight and the right-back made rapid progress through the various age categories at the club. In 2017, at the age of 18, then-head coach Zinedine Zidane invited him into the first-team fold as a back-up for Dani Carvajal. "I've always dreamed of playing for a big club like Real," he said at the time.
That dream soon came true. In October last year he made his league debut in a 2-0 victory over Espanyol, and even went on to score twice in La Liga, as well as forming part of the team's triumphant UEFA Champions League tilt. "Achraf's a great kid, he's very willing to learn and has a lot of potential," said Carvajal of his understudy.
2) In Carvajal's footsteps
Carvajal should know. After all, it was he who blazed the trail Hakimi is now treading. The Spain international played 32 times for Bayer Leverkusen on loan in 2012/13 and made huge strides in his development, especially in terms of his defensive positioning. Indeed, so impressed was his parent club that they fast-tracked him back to Madrid after just one season in Germany.
And guess who Hakimi's role model is? That's right: Carvajal. And who has the youngster's style of play been compared to? Bingo again: Carvajal. With that in mind, it is no great surprise that the reigning European champions are employing the same tried and tested formula with their latest promising teenager – particularly as new Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is known as a man who likes to give youngsters their chance.
3) Spanish born, Moroccan descent
Hakimi was born and raised in the Madrid suburb of Getafe, but he represents Morocco at international level as both of his parents are from there.
Indeed, 'Arra', as he is known at Real, never considered playing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup winners. "I always wanted to play for Morocco, even at youth level," he said. "I'm proud to represent my country." His compatriots are equally proud of him, having become the first Moroccan ever to don the Real Madrid shirt.
4) International experience
Yes, he may only be 19, but Hakimi has already amassed an enviable back catalogue of international experience – something that will no doubt stand him in good stead at Dortmund. Shortly after making his league debut last year, the defender also made his Champions League bow, playing the full 90 minutes in both Group H bouts against Tottenham Hotspur – and earning himself rave reviews in the process.
The same can be said of his international career. Handed his first senior cap for Morocco in a friendly against Canada in November 2016, he has steadily become a fixture in the side and did not miss a minute of action for the north Africans at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He will have taken particular pleasure in helping his team draw 2-2 against a strong Spain side in their final Group B encounter.
Hakimi's displays at the global showpiece in Russia highlighted his ability to play in various positions. Although ostensibly a right-back, in Morocco's opener against Iran he was on the right of a three-man backline, while in the subsequent matches against Portugal and Spain he was fielded at left-back.
Confident, attack-minded and blessed with a blistering turn of pace, he is every bit the prototype modern full-back. In order develop his full potential, Zidane insisted he needed to be playing between 20 and 25 first-team games a season. With his path blocked by Carvajal and Nacho at Real, Hakimi is now hopeful of making the breakthrough at Dortmund.