Riyad Mahrez's most iconic moments for club and country

Riyad Mahrez is a man who has proven he can deliver magic and memorable moments - as Manchester City, Leicester City, and Algeria fans will attest. We take a look at his journey so far.

Now in his eighth season in English football, it's fair to say that Riyad Mahrez has been a success.

Initially an unnoteworthy signing for Leicester City from Le Havre, the Algerian has gone on to win multiple trophies, 23 individual awards, and is the captain of his national team.

With Mahrez and his current club Manchester City seemingly just weeks away from yet another Premier League title, Planet Sport look at his most iconic moments.

Being chased by Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille

After beginning his career in the French fourth tier as an 18-year-old playing for Quimper, Mahrez was soon scouted by giants of French football, PSG and Marseille. He decided to join Le Havre though, citing a quicker path to the first team as his reasoning and their track record for developing top class players.

After two seasons spent playing for Le Havre II, Mahrez made the step up to the senior squad in 2011 before going on to play 60 times for the club, scoring six goals and making 11 assists.

He caught the eye of Leicester City scout Steve Walsh, who was initially watching the Ligue 2 side for another player and from there, and soon after Mahrez began his trophy-laden adventure in England.

Making his mark for Leicester City

Mahrez joined Leicester in January 2014, leaving Le Havre after criticising the defensive nature of the league. He made an instant impact too, being involved in eight goals came in just 19 appearances as Nigel Pearson's team finished the season as Championship winners.

A first season in the Premier League was solid if unspectacular with seven goal contributions in 30 games, although Leicester's 2014/15 will be best remembered for the extraordinary run of form that saw them winning seven out of their last nine games to secure top flight survival.

Mahrez didn't catch the eye too much that season, but he would certainly make sure everyone took notice in the following campaign.

Representing Algeria

Though born in France, Mahrez's Algerian heritage made him eligible to represent the national team and he was first called up to the squad in 2014 ahead of the World Cup, making his debut against Armenia in June.

At the tournament in Brazil, Mahrez made just one appearance before finding himself back on the bench.

He would soon establish himself as the star player in the Algeria squad though, and was given the captaincy in 2019. In the seven years that have passed since making his debut, Mahrez won 62 caps for his country, scoring 19 goals.

A first Premier League title win

Mahrez was a key protagonist in one of the most famous stories in sporting history. At 5000/1 odds, new Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri took a team of relegation candidates and turned them into Premier League champions.

Riyad Mahrez and his family pose with the Premier League trophy in 2016
Riyad Mahrez and his family pose with the Premier League trophy in 2016

Alongside the likes of Jamie VardyN'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater, Mahrez was one of the stars of the show, scoring a superb 17 goals as well as laying on 10 assists.

His popularity and value skyrocketed, and he became the first Algerian to score a Premier League hat-trick after a three-goal haul against Swansea City.

Mahrez was recognised for his role in that remarkable success, winning many postseason accolades including different variations of African/Algerian Footballer of the Year, Player of the Year, and a place in a Team of the Year.

He was rewarded with a new four-year contract with Leicester shortly afterwards, just a year after signing a four-year deal in 2015. It capped off an astonishing season on a personal level and well as for Leicester.

Shining in the Champions League

Although Mahrez didn't quite hit the dizzy heights of 2015/16 in the two seasons that followed with Leicester, his best performances arguably came on Europe's grandest stage: the Champions League.

The Algerian's six goals/assists in nine games helped Leicester to the quarterfinals where they were eventually eliminated by Atletico Madrid, but it was a great achievement to get that far and Mahrez had demonstrated what he was capable of against Europe's best.

His 2017/18 season was marred by constant efforts to leave Leicester and, after a move to Manchester City in January fell through, Mahrez stopped training with the club.

He eventually returned to help the team for the remainder of the season before getting his move away in the summer.

Joining Manchester City

In one of the more predictable moves of that transfer window, Manchester City signed Mahrez for a fee of £60m, making him the Citizens' record signing and the most expensive African footballer of all time.

Riyad Mahrez has impressed at Man City
Riyad Mahrez has impressed at Man City

Despite making just 14 starts in the 2018/19 Premier League, Mahrez won the domestic quadruple as City made a clean sweep of the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, and Community Shield.

Though 2019/20 only brought a Carabao Cup to add to the trophy cabinet, there was a significant uptake in game time.

Mahrez made 50 appearances in all competitions, with 13 goals and 16 assists to his name as he became a key part of Pep Guardiola's side.

Winning the African Cup of Nations

Riyad Mahrez kisses the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 2019
Riyad Mahrez kisses the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in 2019

Mahrez was able to take his winning habit at club level to the international stage with Algeria at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

In a tight semi-final against Nigeria with the score tied at 1-1, Mahrez stepped up to curl home a free-kick to win the game for Algeria in the 95th minute.

Algeria went on to beat Senegal in the final and won their first AFCON for 29 years.

Mahrez finished the tournament with three goals, joint second place behind former Manchester United ace Odion Ighalo, who scored five, and was included in the AFCON Team of the Tournament.

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