Riyad Mahrez Profile
|Born||Feb 21, 1992|
Riyad Mahrez has racked up a strong haul of trophies from his time with Leicester City and Manchester City, alongside an Africa Cup of Nations title with Algeria.
Riyad Mahrez is an Algerian winger who has won Premier League titles with Leicester City and Manchester City, as well as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with his country.
He came to prominence at Leicester during their famous 2015/16 Premier League title victory against the odds and stayed on the books of the Foxes until his 2018 move to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, where he won the Premier League title, League Cup and FA Cup in his first season.
Mahrez was born in France, but chose to represent Algeria internationally. He was born to an Algerian father and a mother of French and Moroccan descent. He has won the Africa Cup of Nations title as captain of the country.
Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City
Mahrez moved to Leicester City from Le Havre in January 2014. He caught the eye of Leicester City scout Steve Walsh while Walsh was scouting his team-mate, Ryan Mendes. He signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Leicester, who were playing in the English Championship at the time.
Mahrez was unaware of Leicester City's existence prior to becoming a player at the club and had presumed that they were a rugby team.
Nigel Pearson was Mahrez's first manager at Leicester and in his fourth league substitute appearance, the Algerian scored in a 2-2 draw against local rivals Nottingham Forest. Mahrez came off the bench in their next Championship game, against Ipswich Town, but was elevated to the starting line-up for the one afterwards - a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic. Leicester eventually won the title and promotion to the Premier League.
Mahrez was part of the Leicester squad that won seven of their last nine games to remain in the Premier League against all odds in 2014/15. Forecasts were bleak ahead of the new campaign as Nigel Pearson had to make way following a racism scandal involving his son, and was replaced by Claudio Ranieri. Ultimately, the pundits could not have been more wrong.
Leicester stunned the experts, bookmakers and supporters alike as they beat Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Premier League title. Few players were as influential as Mahrez, who struck a solid on-field relationship with Jamie Vardy - the Foxes' star striker in the 2015/16 campaign.
Mahrez became the first African footballer to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year prize for his exploits in 2015/16. He signed a new four-year contract with Leicester in August 2016, but the lure of life at Manchester City proved too strong. After making his intention to leave clear throughout the 2017/18 season, Mahrez was eventually granted his wish. He had been criticised by former player Chris Sutton among others for his behavior leading up to his transfer, but he insisted that criticism of him was misguided.
In 179 appearances for Leicester City, Mahrez scored 48 goals. While on the books of the Foxes, he won the 2015 and 2016 Algerian Footballer of the Year awards and the 2017 African Footballer of the Year prize.
Moving to Man City
Mahrez was confirmed as a Manchester City player on 10 July 2018 for a reported fee of £60million ($81.5million). He signed a five-year deal and became a club record signing. Rodri broke that record the following year when City paid a reported £64million ($87million) to prise the midfielder away from Atletico Madrid.
"Watching them from afar has been a pleasure," said Mahrez upon signing for City.
"Pep Guardiola is committed to playing attacking football, and City's performances last season were outstanding.
"I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep's management."
His first season was hit and miss in some respects, as he did not always dominate matches and failed to score a crucial penalty in a 0-0 draw with title rivals Liverpool. However, Mahrez did have his bright moments and was named Best Player of the EFL Cup, which City won by beating Chelsea in the final on penalties.
Mahrez became the first player to win a domestic treble in England as City walked away with not only the League Cup, but also the Premier League and FA Cup in 2018/19.
He scored seven Premier League goals in his first season with Manchester City and 11 in his second, but Pep Guardiola's charges were unable to defend their title in 2019/20. In 2020/21, Mahrez scored his first hat-trick for his club in a 5-0 home win over Burnley to end another inconsistent spell of form.
Riyad Mahrez and Algeria
The highlight of Mahrez's international career was winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt with Algeria, having been appointed captain by coach Djamel Belmadi. Mahrez scored a stunning free-kick in stoppage time of a 2-1 semi-final win over Nigeria and the Desert Foxes would then go on to beat Senegal 1-0 in the final, having downed the Lions of Teranga already by the same scoreline in the group stage.
Mahrez has been a part of the Algeria national team setup since shortly after he expressed a desire to represent them in 2013. He was part of Algeria's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. Then Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic has claimed that he was accused of accepting money from Mahrez in exchange for a World Cup place. Mahrez scored his first international goal later in 2014 in a 3-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win over Malawi.
Mahrez is a practising Muslim and has a daughter with Rita Johal, who he married in 2015. In 2020, it was reported that he had started dating Taylor Ward after splitting from Johal.
2020 was an eventful year in the life of Riyad Mahrez for other reasons too. He tested positive for COVID-19 and his Manchester penthouse apartment was burgled, seeing him lose hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of valuables.
Mahrez reportedly doubled his weekly wages from £100,000 to £200,000 upon moving to Manchester City from Leicester in 2018. His net worth is unclear.