With two goals in Leicester’s opening game and a man of the match performance, Riyad Mahrez has made an outstanding start to the new Premier League season. The pacey Algerian international has since gained media attention and is tipped to be a crucial part of Leicester’s push to avoid relegation and establish themselves as a mid-table club.
Mahrez began his career with French club AAS Sarcelles as a youth player. He then went professional in 2009, moving to French fourth division side, Quimper. At Quimper, he managed to secure a first team spot, making 27 appearances in the 2009-2010 season and scoring once.
The winger then joined French second division side Le Havre, originally playing for their second team, Le Havre II. During this time, Mahrez showcased his talent, making 60 appearances and scoring 24 goals. From 2012 onwards, the Algerian featured regularly for the French side’s first team, making 60 appearances and scoring six goals, enhancing his reputation as a future star.
On January 11, 2014, Mahrez signed for Leicester City on a three-and-a-half year deal, for a transfer fee of £400,000. Labelled as the ‘Algerian Di Maria’ by many fans, he made his debut on January 25, coming on as a substitute in the 79th minute. The forward then went on to make 19 appearances in the second half of the season, scoring three goals and playing a crucial role in Leicester’s promotion to the Premier Leagye
. In the following season, Mahrez established himself further as an important player in Leicester’s first team, appearing 30 times in the league, scoring four goals and bagging three assists. After a successful season in the Premier League, he signed a new four-year contract in August 2015 and is expected to flourish with the Foxes under new manager Claudio Ranieri.
Mahrez was born in Sarcelles, France, and possesses Algerian and Moroccan citizenships. In November 2014, the winger chose to represent Algeria at national level. He then made his debut for Algeria in May 2014 in a friendly match against Armenia and afterwards was included in the Algerian squad for the 2014 World Cup. In October 2015, the forward scored his first international goal for Algeria in a 3-1 win against Malawi, also managing to get an assist. In December 2014, Mahrez was chosen to represent Algeria in the 2015 African Cup Of Nations, scoring once in the tournament.
After a successful opening weekend in the new Premier League season, Mahrez is expected to continue his fantastic form throughout the season and play an integral role in firing the foxes to a mid-table finish.