Skip to the content Home .:. About .:. Biography
Riyad Mahrez
Gender Male
Ethnic Algerian
Job Algerian Footballer
Desc Mahrez’s goal against Burnley on Tuesday took him up to a half-century of Premier League goals, as he became the ninth African player to join this elite group. While his time at Manchester City has been frustrating-if trophy-laden-Mahrez will always be remembered for his miraculous stint at Leicester City, where he was an unlikely Premier League winner in 2016. Mahrez’s 50th goal draws him level with Edin Dzeko, Christian Eriksen, Cesc Fabregas, Danny Murphy and Paulo Wanchope, although imagine what he could have already achieved had he been a regular in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI at City!

Affiliation

Org Algeria National Team
Club as Player Manchester City
  Leicester City
  Le Havre
  Quimper Kerfeunteun
  AAS Sarcelles

Relationship

Father Ahmed Mahrez
Mother Saliha
Mentor Érick Mombaerts
  Mohamed Coulibaly
Agent Jean Evina

Notes

Sarcelles A northern suburb of Paris with abundant state-built tower blocks, high immigrant populations and low career prospects
Quimper Kerfeunteun The French non-league club that decided to take a chance on him in 2009

2015 09 12 Retrieve

[Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez on his dad] My dad was always behind me, he wanted me to be a footballer. He was always with me. He came to every game with me to give me help. He played before for small teams in Algeria and France so he knew what he was saying, so I listened to him. [His death] maybe was the kickstart. I don’t know if I started to be more serious but after the death of my dad things started to go for me. Maybe in my head I wanted it more

We were definitely not rich, but we were not poor. My mum always came home from work and did everything so that we ate well [It was nature that decreed the young Mahrez would be exceptionally thin and his physique meant few coaches believed he would make it as a footballer despite his baroque skill] They said I was too skinny, everyone will push you off the ball. I had a good technique but physically I wasn’t too strong. And I wasn’t fast. But I always worked hard

When you’re skinny or small you don’t go into duels. One manager at Quimper said to me: ‘You have to play without contact, you have to be clever because now you’re not strong enough’

[He developed an anarchic savviness that he reckons academy graduates seldom possess and points to his Leicester team-mates Jamie Vardy and [N’Golo Kante](n-golo-kante.html), who share his mindset having also worked their way up from non-league] We’re not programmed. When you’re in an academy, every day you’re in at 9am and it’s: ‘Do this, do that’, but we just came with our football. Sometimes you see me on the pitch and you think I’m playing on the street. That brings something different to the team. It’s better to have a lot of different qualities in the team, it’s a good mix

[Mahrez has also shown savviness with his career decisions. Ambition has never made him rash. When, after six months at Quimper, Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille came calling, he elected to join Le Havre in Ligue 2 instead] Le Havre was a good choice for me because they have a good youth system. I played for the under-21s and then the first team. It was difficult for me when I started in the first team because in the French second division it is always so defensive, everybody seems to be playing for 0-0. The first year was difficult, the second year was good. Then I did six months and went to Leicester. My life is like that. It always has to be step by step

[He took some convincing that English football and the Championship, where Leicester were in 2014, was the right step] Everybody was saying to me: ‘Riyad, England is not for you, it is too physical, too strong. Spanish football would suit you better’. So I never thought I would play in England. But I spoke to my agent and he said it would be very good for you. And I spoke with my family. I said: ‘OK, I will give it a go’, and when I got here I really liked it. When I started training and playing games I thought to myself: ‘I was stupid to hesitate’

[Mahrez on Leicester City] The club has given me everything. I discovered the Premier League and played in the [2014] World Cup. I was playing in the Championship but we were always first and always winning so Algeria started watching me. If I was still playing in the second division in France, nobody would have watched me

I used to go to Algeria on holiday every year with my dad and my brother. I have a lot of family there. I lived in France and grew up there and my mum still lives there but my heart is more Algerian

[Mahrez on Nigel Pearson. His affection for Leicester has also grown. He was saddened when his first manager at the club Nigel Pearson was sacked in June soon after presiding over the club’s sensational escape from relegation] Nigel was like a dad to me because when I came here he was always speaking to me and he gave me a lot of confidence. Sometimes he shouted at me and screamed at me but it was for my own good. I was disappointed when he left because he brought me here. He is a good person as well. They brought in a new manager Claudio Ranieri and I didn’t know him

He helps us a lot tactically so I’m getting better tactically. We needed that. And he has given me a lot of responsibility and confidence. He gives me the key of the game. He said: ‘Riyad, do your job offensively and defensively’ because he wants me to be a complete player. He helped me a lot in training and speaks to me. He says: ‘Just go create things. I would never change your game. I like how you play’

[Onve time Claudio Ranieri withdrew Mahrez at half-time at Bournemouth, who successfully nullified him] He said to me: ‘It was difficult for you, they blocked you. You’re not always going to be the best player on the pitch but that’s OK, there’s nothing wrong’

Sometimes [opponents] put two or three players on me. It’s more difficult away, they close me more, but at home we have a lot of space when we have the ball so it’s better for me

[Leicester really is home. He married an Englishwoman in the summer before pledging his professional future to the club by signing a contract extension to 2019. That was despite interest from AS Roma and Villarreal. There were even rumours of inquiries from Barcelona FC] I don’t care about things like that. I am a Leicester City footballer and I am happy here. In life if you have to go somewhere you go but I don’t want to think about that

2016 03 05 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez on learning the Foxes had a football team] I didn’t know Leicester. In France we didn’t really [know them] because they were in the Championship. I thought they were a rugby club

2016 04 30 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez’s mother, Saliha, wishes his son will stay in England] I really hope Riyad stays at Leicester. They have opened up the doors to glory for him. They are a club that suits him perfectly, so that is why I wish to see my son continue his career with them and remain in England. I want him to stay put, and strongly advise him to stay in the Premier League … It is the joy of a mother who has seen her son succeed at the highest level

2016 05 01 Interview

[q: Do you realise that the entirety of European football has fallen for Leicester and that they all want you to become champions?] Not really, no. We can certainly tell that something is happening in England, but we live a little bit in our own bubble. We do not have the best players, nor the biggest budget, but our solidarity forces people to admire us. We have had a bit of luck too. It was this year or never

[q: Your adventure, it is the revenge of the ‘weak’ against the powerful. Do you see morality here?] It is not a story of revenge for the little ones. It is just a symbol. We are here, that is all. Up until January, we didn’t think about the title. Now, it has become possible, but we are not becoming big-headed because of it

[q: I am going to insist on this point, Jamie Vardy, [N’Golo Kanté](n-golo-kante.html) and you did not go through the youth academy process, it is a bit like the revenge of the barefooted men] I like that image. We were not programmed to become professional footballers. I think we live our lives with a certain form of indifference. With N’Golo, I laugh about it. Our story is impossible, even if nothing is yet done. Wes Morgan, our captain, he was also discovered late. But honestly, internally, there is no difference between the more classic professional footballers and us

It is relaxed. We have fun, we love what we do. Jamie Vardy and I we even sometimes have a good laugh during matches. With him, you see it more on TV than with me, but we are all relaxed. During the warm-up, in the tunnel, we poke fun at each other

But as soon as we are on the pitch, we give everything. At Sarcelles, I was told to stop laughing because I would be poking fun at people non-stop. I am a very funny guy. After all, I don’t want to blow my own trumpet … I am joking

And, of course, I am crazy competitive. In all types of games, I want to win. In France, at the clubs where I have been, I was a bit like the Djamel Debbouze [famous French comedian] of the group. A little less here, in England

[q: Jamie Vardy, your striker, has the demeanour of a Sunday league player. And he spends his time joking on the pitch. Zlatan, Agüero, Rooney and Co., they nearly never laugh] Him and I, we are the jokers in the dressing room. The coach, Claudio Ranieri, allows us to be. Except one time at half-time against Newcastle. Then, he screamed at us. Apart from that, he does like to laugh. At training, he is amusing himself all the time. Less so on match days. There, he is concentrated

Me, I will try to joke with him, to tell him that he is late, to make fun of his shoes, even if he smiles, his response is football. He says to me: ‘Hey, hey concentrate on the match’. His thing is to tell us: ‘Be smart, you are foxes’. The symbol of the club. In Algeria, I have the fennec as an emblem. We need to be crafty

[q: Are you the Frank Ribéry of Leicester?] No, I do not do things like throwing buckets of water or putting salt in coffee. I ridicule, I laugh. I play more with words. With my opponents, I stay humble. I say nothing. Sometimes it has happened that I become annoyed, but, honestly, it is rare. I prefer to be calm in my corner

[q: Are you proud to be a footballer from the streets?] The streets, for me, was about dribbling, dribbling, attempting to score on your own. When I arrived at the professional level, I learnt nothing about dribbling. I knew how to do it all. At professional level, I worked on my physicality to eliminate opponents, to make the difference. A bit at Quimper, in the CFA, but certainly at Le Havre after that. It was there where I went to another level

Every Thursday afternoon, we would tone our abs. Plus another hour of body conditioning. That hardened me. Tactically, I was not very good either. I stayed upfront and I waited for the ball. In the street, there is no offside. Érick Mombaerts really made me work on that. A great developer of talent. Before, I never came deep, I never re-positioned myself. I wanted the ball at my feet so that I could dribble

[q: Do you like defending?] I do not enjoy it, but I am obliged to do it. That is what the top level is about. At Leicester, the guys fight for every single ball. When you see them, you are forced to give everything. And, there, you are happy to be together. But well, sometimes, I am not in a good way, I have run a lot. Sometimes too, I do not really want to defend, in order to retain my final forces. It is for that reason that the coach often takes me off at the 80th minute because he thinks that I will just stay up front at that point

[q: Do you meet up with Vardy and Kanté a lot, outside of matches?] With Kanté, yes. He comes to mine. We eat together. We also play a bit of billiards. He is a shy guy

[q: Will you always be a street footballer?] I see myself as a normal footballer. If I was forced to choose, I would choose my career path via the streets more than a more classic development path. The difference, is that it is your instinct that remains stronger. You keep this little thing from the streets

[q: On the 24th April, you were voted as the best Premier League player of the season by your peers. Did you expect it?] It is a source of pride. I expected it a little bit admittedly, because I was hearing everyone saying that I was going to win it, but you always have a little bit of doubt. Of course I was hoping for it, but I will stop talking about myself. I still have not won anything. I saw that John Terry has voted for me. That is flattering

He has won everything. Last year, away at Chelsea, he killed me. Totally. He totally had my dribbles figured out. This year, against them, I scored and nabbed an assist. Here, they do not let you go at all when they mark you. There are some who, if you go for a drink of water on the sideline, they follow you…

[q: The hardest part is only just beginning. You now need to prove yourself consistently] For the moment, nothing is done in football. I do not want this season to finish. We are in a good spot here. Next year, everything will start again from zero

[q: Do you sometimes go back to Sarcelles?] Yes, but it is becoming difficult in the streets. I want to be normal, but that is no longer possible. Halima, my mother, has stopped doing housework, I am happy for her. I am proud to be able to offer her this luxury. I will never be able to give her all that she gave me

When Quimper offered me a trial, I was 18. The train ticket cost 160 Euros. I said to my mother: ‘Do not worry, I will give it back to you. I will break through’. Today, I have finally given it back to her. Not when I returned from Quimper, because she did not ask me for it

Since then, I do everything for her. I would have liked to have begun my career closer to her. To stay with my friends, Quimper, it is really far. During one season, I came home once. I lived in a flatshare with one of the Pogba brothers

I did not want to bring my mother there. I was a bit ashamed of myself, it was a total mess in the apartment. And then the ticket was expensive. I was earning €700 a month

[q: Do you think that you could have lost your way without having such an adult role-model in your life (his mother)?] I am not someone who goes and see loads of girls etc. I was all in with football. If someone asked me to go meet with girls or play a football match, I would choose football. I like it too much

[q: Is it your father, Ahmed, who died in 2006, that gave you that virus?] He came to play with us in the parking lot, and, when we were playing keep ball with a person in the middle, when it was his turn to be in the middle, he would make me go in his place. When he died, it motivated me even more to succeed. He believed in me. I know that he is happy where he is now

[q: Did you ever doubt your destiny?] When I was just a small kid, I did not stop saying that I would be a professional footballer one day. I bored my teachers at school with it. I persuaded myself: ‘Riyad, be calm, if you really are good, someone will come and get you’. And at the same time, when Quimper came for me, I did not want to go

It was five hours on the train. My friends told me: ‘Oh Riyad you are crazy! Go on, this could be a springboard!’ I went. I smashed it. I came back in July, but, then, I struggled physically in games, even though in training I killed everyone. I still managed to get a contract. I did not play at the beginning

Sometimes, it was 14 hour bus ride to the away games and I did not even get substituted on! I felt like shit on the bus in the way back. ‘This sucks. You are rubbish, Riyad!’

[q: You therefore doubted yourself. Like during your failed trial in Scotland, they you have not told me about] That was before Quimper. An agent, Jean Evina, told me that he had a trial for me in the first division in Scotland with the St Mirren reserves. He paid for my ticket and I went with another guy from Sarcelles, Dany Bekale. It went well. I played four friendlies with the reserves and I scored seven goals

I killed them. They made me wait. Two and a half months. I couldn’t take it anymore. It drove me crazy, Scotland. It was cold. It was too much. It snowed and everything … I was so cold that one day I faked an injury so that I could go back to the dressing room

A few days later, my agent said to me: ‘I think that Jake Duncan, an English agent who works with us, wants to swindle me. Riyad, I have got you a ticket, you take the bus immediately, you go to Glasgow station and you get on the train for the airport and you take a flight to Paris’

I did not speak any English at all. I forgot my boots at the training centre. I borrowed a bike from a guy at the hotel, I took my football boots, I packed my bag and I left without telling anyone. Even the woman at the hotel. I took the stairs to avoid the reception

[q: How did they react when you returned to Sarcelles?] Wait, the story is not finished. Duncan, the English agent, took revenge and tore up a contract of another Frenchman who had signed for Queen of the South, in the Scottish second division. The guy, I know him well, he plays for Béziers, Halifa Soulé. He was eaten alive. He had nothing to do with the entire thing!

[q: After your bad experience in Scotland, how did you approach the offer from Leicester, an English second division club, at the end of 2013?] At the start, I said to myself: ‘I will never go’. My agents said: ‘are you crazy or what? Leicester is a fantastic club’. I thought that it was a rugby club! I promise you. I met the Leicester representatives, but I said to my friends afterwards: ‘I will never go’

One week later, my agents came back to me. They said: ‘Hey! Riyad, they really want you. Take a look at their stadium on the internet’. They insisted, so the next day, I took a look. And I said ok, it looks good. And as well, I felt that Le Havre did not really want to keep me. The president was weird with me

[q: They wanted the 450,000 Euros …] Yes. So, I asked my mother what she thought about it. ‘Leicester? I do not know it … It is up to you’. It was the 7th or 8th of January, and two days later, I was supposed to play with Le Havre against Metz. I visited the training centre, the stadium. Well … it looked great, you know. Excellent in fact

So I said ok, let’s sign. They are first in the English second division. I said to myself that this was better than being 10th with Le Havre. There was a small problem, things were not quite resolved between the agents and the club. Not a problem, I was happy, I said to myself that I would be able to play against Metz

A half an hour later, my agents come back to me and say: ‘Go! We have made some sacrifices, you have to sign, this is too good for you’. I signed for a salary befitting for a good Ligue 1 player

[q: Do you remember your first game?] It was Leeds. I was on the bench. It was perhaps better that I didn’t come on … it was … intense. If I went on, they would have destroyed me. Certainly. Also, at Elland Road, the bench is edged downwards. The players looked even bigger. I would have been ruined, certainly. The coach, he wanted me to watch.

I came on for the second match, at home, against Middlesborough. One month later, I became a starter. I have never dropped out of the team since

[q: So you did not doubt your decision?] Yes, at the beginning, I asked myself how I was going to do this … At Leeds, I said to myself: ‘Where have you landed here?’

[q: Your street footballing background helped you then?] Yes, thanks to it I get to escape from that problem. In the street, there are loads of bruisers who do not time their actions. I had to avoid them. Poorly coordinated people. We sometimes played on concrete. One day, a guy collided with my shoulder, I fell, on my shorts there was nothing, but my underpants inside had a hole in them. Can you imagine? I had pizzas for calves

When it snowed, we went on synthetic and we played ‘crazy football’. Three against three on a big pitch. My mother, she let me dry in the corridor: ‘Nobody comes in with shoes or with wet socks’. So we got undressed in the hall

[q: For you, is football a sport about avoidance?] Yes, it is instinctive. At training, Claudio Ranieri organises small-sided games where we are allowed to have a maximum of three touches of the ball, except one player per team who is free. And you take turns. I say to the coach: ‘Hey! Boss, I have not yet been the free player’.

I want so much be that player, the player who improvises. Now, just before you came to see us, we lost because of me, all I did was dribble. I like it too much

[q: The Algerian national team, is it thanks to England that they started to track your progress?] Nobody ever came to see me before Leicester. Yet I thought I was already ready when I was at Le Havre. But where I have really improved is here. Ranieri gave us proper headaches in training with the tactical work. It took some time for us to get it, but our style of play has evolved

‘Riyad! Get back in the line of four! Get back and defend!’ I have certainly heard that once or twice. Ranieri, he insists and insists. He looks at your stats too. If you do not run, you do not play. I do my 11km per match

[q: Are you a counter-attacking football team?] We are not Barca. We are not going to even pretend that. We remain solid and then we counter. But our opponents are waiting for us, and it is becoming difficult, certainly at home. It will be difficult right until the end. But well, if you say that the entirety of Europe is with us…

2016 05 07 Retrieve

[Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez on a promise he made with his mother early in his career] When Quimper offered me a trial, I was 18. The train ticket cost €160. I said to my mother: ‘Do not worry, I will give it back to you. I will break through’. Today, I have finally given it back to her

2016 08 20 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez on winning the Premier League] We played several pre-season matches, against PSG, BarcelonaMessi and all of the players congratulated us for the title. It was really touching coming from such big names. It is also through that that you understand just how much Leicester has touched the rest of Europe

2016 12 03 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez tells Tottenham Hotspur’s collapse at Stamford Bridge in May was the funniest moment of last season] The funniest moment [of last season]? I think it was when Tottenham were 2-0 ahead of Chelsea at half-time. All the team were at [Jamie] Vardy’s house thinking ‘we’re probably not going to be champions tonight’. I was like, ‘What’s the point of coming today?!’ and then 2-1, 2-2…it was funny

2017 01 05 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez was being named African Player of the Year] It’s a huge honor to receive this award, I want to thank all my teammates,my family, Africa, Nigeria as well

2017 01 07 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez is targeting CAF Africa Cup of Nations glory with his country after being named African Player of the Year] I’m very happy to win it. Honestly, it was between two big players. It is never easy to win a big award like this. I’m very happy and very pleased; [I am not done yet] as I just have to keep going. The next thing after this award is the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. My team will try to do good things there. It is not going to be easy in Africa, but it will be good maybe to win the title. It is never easy to win - even one game. [All we need to do is keep working], we just have to see if we emerge as winners

2019 07 15 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez described Algeria reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final as ‘unbelievable’ after setting up a showdown with Senegal thanks to his stunning last-gasp free-kick] It was a very tough game today against a strong team. We were one goal up and were in control before VAR’s decision - they scored the penalty and in the last minute we converted our free-kick. We are very happy because to be in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations is something unbelievable. I think we have been very good in this tournament. We scored 12 goals and conceded two, that is the source of our confidence. We are looking forward to the final against Senegal. We played them in the group stage and we are expecting another tough game

: 2019 08 04 Riyad Mahrez missed Manchester City’s Community Shield triumph over Liverpool to avoid the risk of failing a doping test

2019 11 11 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez claims Leicester’s reluctance to sell him to Arsenal in 2016 means he has lost two years of his career, with the Algerian forced to wait on Manchester City to do a deal] After the title, if I’d left for a top team, it wouldn’t have been the same story. For me, it’s clear that I lost two years at the highest level. I lost two years! Because instead of arriving at City at 27, I could have been there at 24, 25. Leicester blocked me. They told me: ‘You’re not leaving, you’re not leaving’.

My agent had spoken to [Arsene] Wenger who really wanted me. It was nearly all done with Arsenal in 2016. I was really frustrated. It wasn’t easy to go from being the best player in the Premier League to being a part of a team fighting against relegation. It’s not the same job. Everyone is waiting for you around the corner

[Mahrez got his step up the ladder when joining City, and is now a two-time Premier League champion, but has found regular starts hard to come by with the Blues] He is a winner, he is there to make us progress. Guardiola, he’ll explain everything to us, decrypt everything, from A to Z, with the aim of determining the match. He is focused on every game

2019 12 20 Retrieve

[Mahrez sends message to Guardiola as he aims to become Man City regular] Of course that’s the level I want to reach again. That’s why we are all playing football, that’s why I’m here. We always have ambition and I am trying to get back there. I am feeling good. It’s very special for me to be nominated for awards like that and being in the last 30 of the Ballon d’Or. It’s something amazing

When I came back to the club he [Guardiola] said ‘well done’ and he’s happy for me to win the African Cup. I’m proud to be the captain of Algeria, it’s my country and I’m very happy to play for them, very happy to give everything and to win that cup. We have a great team and a great manager for Algeria.

What happened gave me a lot of confidence and I want to continue like that this season with City. I think I can show more and more now. I just need to play, to keep going and become a player who if I keep playing I can give more and more and more.

Just try to keep doing what I did [against Chelsea]. It was one of the best goals I’ve scored, yes, but the most important thing was that I helped the team win. Of course, you want to play all the time - but the manager decides and you have to accept it. When the manager wants me to play, I will try to help the team. I just need to play, to keep going - I can give more and more

2019 12 21 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez admits to experiencing mixed emotions when facing the Foxes] It was a bit strange at the beginning [playing against Leicester] but we did well and we managed to come back. First half we were very good and in the second half we kept the ball well. I don’t know if it was one of my best games but when the manager starts me I try my best to help the team to win

2019 12 21b Retrieve

[Mahrez: Arteta’s Arsenal departure emotional for Man City] Mikel was an important member of staff. So, it was a bit emotional for him to go but he had to take his chance and we are happy for him

2019 12 23 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez, who scored the equaliser against his former employers, praised De Bruyne’s input] He is very good. He has a lot of quality so he helps us a lot. It’s great to have a player like him in the team. Every game he contributes to the team, so I’m happy to have him with us.

2019 12 24 Retrieve

[Facing off against Benjamin Mendy, the Blues duo were asked to name the player who has revealed that this will be his last season with the club. Mahrez was first to his buzzer and bellowed] David and Fernandinho

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Mahrez says he was on Reds’ radar before Man City move] Before signing for Manchester City, there was interest from Liverpool in me, but as soon as they took Mohamed Salah, it was finished.

[AFCON is staged every two years alternating between winter and summer, but the City ace is of the opinion that the tournament should follow the same format as the World Cup so that club football is unaffected] Let’s make AFCON once every four years and in summer. We loved Egypt, it wasn’t too hot. Every two years and in winter, that is why African football is not respected. You have a crazy amount of action in your own clubs, then you leave for two months

2020 05 11b Retrieve

[Manchester City’s Mahrez calls for Afcon to be staged every four years] Let’s make Afcon once every four years and in summer. We loved Egypt, it wasn’t too hot. Every two years and in winter, that is why African football is not respected. You have a crazy amount of action in your own clubs, then you leave for two months.

I went to test in Marseille. I was very happy because before, my heart’s club was Marseille. I liked PSG, because it’s my city but Marseille, I wanted to go there too much

I remember, the coach was Franck Passi. Everything was going well, so much so that Jose Anigo [then-Marseille sports director] comes down and tells me that they want me to sign. In my head, I was in a movie. I am 18 years old. Eight months before, I was in Sarcelles. He [Anigo] said to me: ‘How did you come? By train?’ I said yes. He said to his secretary, ‘Get him a plane ticket for tonight’. He passed me Marseille jerseys. I came back, I thought I had signed.

We do not really know the underside, but, three or four days later, he [Angio] calls my agent, and says to him: ‘We have a player who is the same here, we don’t want to get in the way of him, we don’t want to put a spanner in the works.’ The player was [Billel] Omrani [currently in Cluj, Romania]

[Aouar is one of the most sought after players in Europe, while Cherki is a 16-year-old who has already played 12 times for the senior team, scoring three goals and providing two assists. Mahrez, however, says the choice is theirs to make] If Aouar wants to play for France, it’s not a problem. If he wants to play in Algeria with us, he is welcome. It’s his choice, it’s his career. Rayan Cherki I haven’t seen him play much. He is still too young to talk about his future in selection

2020 05 29 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez believes that everything is in place for Manchester City to win the Champions League this season] I think it is a good time to win the Champions League. We have the team, we have the manager, we have everything, so it is a good time. I don’t know if we are the best, but we are good enough to win it. The Champions League is difficult, everyone wants to win it, so it is going to be a big battle

The feeling was unbelievable. It was a dream for me and for my team-mates from the country. To make my country happy and proud of us like we did was unbelievable. I still watch [the goal] sometimes. It was a big honour to score this goal and I was very proud. There are no words to describe this. When you are there in the competition you don’t really see the impact, you are making with the team. After, you know the impact and what it means for the Arabic and African people. I am just trying to do my best and make the people proud.

It was a bit long without football, but we adapted and now we are back, so it is good. With the pandemic going on [training at home and doing online sessions with the group] is something we had to respect and now we have come back to training it is very good. Step-by-step we are getting fitter, I am excited. It was good to see my team-mates and the coaches again. It was good to train with everyone and we have had very good weather as well!

2020 05 30 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez claims to be at Manchester City to win, not just participate] You have to stay motivated. I am a competitor, I am here to try to win something every season, every year. It is part of my job and I want to do my job as best as I can. At the end of the day you want to win, you are not here just to participate. You want to win and that is the most important thing for me.

You have to get used to it at first but when you get used to it and you train a long time with Pep and everyone else it is easy. I don’t think you have to be physically strong [in the Premier League]. I adapted because I like the way we play, the way there is space, the attacking game, so that is my type of game. Leicester was more of a counterattacking team and at City we are more attacking, you have to break teams down. It is a completely different type of game. You have to adapt, and I think I am very good with that and happy

2020 05 31 Retrieve

[Manchester City footballer Riyad Mahrez was looking forward to a return to football with City hoping to add to the Carabao Cup they won in February] It was a bit long without football, but we adapted and now we are back, so it is good. I was just trying to train and play football, as well as rest, so it was good

2020 06 03 Retrieve

[Mahrez opens up on early Man City struggles] I didn’t make a difference as quickly as they thought I was going to make. So obviously they don’t have time to give me time because we are 20 players, top players. I was on the bench and the other players were performing, so it was difficult for me to come back. Then more to the end of the season I came back, I played good and I start this season differently. Now when he played me I was performing, so the confidence is here.

When things like this happen you realise what a beautiful life you have. You have to love and enjoy what you are doing

2020 06 23 Retrieve

[Riyad Mahrez says his team-mate Phil Foden will become a top player for Manchester City and England] Since I arrived, Phil has improved a lot. He’s been training with us and he’s still young. He’s been improving a lot. He has a lot of quality and he needs to keep going in a good way to improve more and more. He has a lot of time to improve and be a top player in this club and the country