Top facts you need to know about Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Karim Mahrez known as the Algerian Jewel was born on the 21st of February 1991 in Sarcelles, France. His father was Ahmed Mahrez (Algerian) and his mother was Halima Mahrez (Moroccan). He is the 2nd of 4 children—his elder brother Walid Mahrez and his 2 sisters Innes Mahrez and Dounya Mahrez. They all grew up in one of the very rough suburbs near Paris.
His father was a former Football player who had played in Algeria for a while before migrating to France. When Mahrez began to develop a passion for the sport and specifically for football, he was there to give his full support to his son.
In 2004, Mahrez started playing for AAS Sarcelles and his father accompanied him to training and almost every game but he died in 2006 when Riyad was only 15. But, the painful loss of his father encouraged him to take his playing career more seriously.
Below we take a look at the top facts everyone should know about Riyad Mahrez:
Mahrez was a street player
Mahrez joined Quimper alongside Mathias Pogba, younger brother of Juventus dynamo Paul and future Crewe Alexandra striker, who became his flatmate in an apartment provided by the French club. Mahrez was sent to play with their seventh-tier B team. It seemed they still weren’t entirely convinced.
“He was a street player who had taught himself football in his neighborhood,” recalled former coach Mickael Pellen. “It was both an advantage and a disadvantage: good because he was an excellent dribbler, comfortable with both feet and already very good at set-pieces, but a disadvantage because on a tactical level he knew nothing.”
Mahrez Professional Football Career
Mahrez began his football career by playing for French club AAS Sarcelles and made his professional debut with Quimper football club in 2009. Mahrez signed for English side Leicester City In January 2014, helping them win the Championship and promotion to the Premier League at the end of his first season. Later, he joined Manchester City as the biggest transfer of Leicester city.
Quimper Kerfeunteun F.C. (2009–2010)
Mahrez moved to Quimper, a club in the 7th tier in France but since he was very skinny, his coaches thought he wouldn’t make it as a professional because he wasn’t as strong or as fast as his teammates, but his technique was great and he focused on developing it even more.
Le Havre AC (2010–2014)
Mahrez received several offers from big clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille but he was looking to develop his game even further so he rejected their offers and chose to sign for Le Havre in the French second division. Mahrez had to work his way up to the first team from the Reserves. He scored 6 goals and featured in 60 matches before Leicester City came calling. Mahrez was unhappy with the Ligue 2 gameplay, where most teams were happy to just sit back and defend. He criticized the Ligue 2, saying that most teams were willing to end matches with a goalless draw.
Leicester City (2014–2018)
When Mahrez’s brother, Walid, who is also his manager, told him about Leicester City, he thought it was a Rugby Club. His family did not want him to go to England; instead, they asked him to move to Spain, where the gameplay was more technical than physical. But Mahrez decided to move to England to play in the English 2nd tier league. He was impressed with their training facilities and quickly settled in.
He made his debut for Leicester against Middlesbrough in a game they won 2-0. He scored his first equalizer goal in a draw against Nottingham Forest, and after a few matches as a substitute, he began playing as a starter. Leicester went on to win the championship title and got promoted to the premier league after 10 years of absence.
He scored his first Premier League goal in October 2014 in a 2-2 draw against Burnley and played a huge role in Leicester run of 7 wins in the last 9 games to ensure that they remain in the Premier League by scoring 4 goals and 3 assists.
Later, he signed a renewed contract, keeping him in the club for another 4 years, and scored 2 goals in a 4-2 win against Sunderland in their 1st league match of the season. By the end of the season, he had 17 league goals and 8 assists, with his efforts being crucial to Leicester’s first-ever Premier League trophy and being selected as the Premier League’s Team of the Year.
Manchester City (2018–present)
By July 2018, Mahrez signed for Manchester City in a £60 million move, becoming Manchester City’s most expensive player and the biggest transfer fee received by Leicester’s for a single player. He scored his first goals a brace in Manchester City’s 6-0 thumping of Cardiff. By the end of his first season with Manchester City, he had won his 2nd Premier League Title, as well as FA Cup, and the Carabao trophy. He was even named the best player of the Carabao tournament.
At the end of the 2018 / 2019 season, Mahrez was called in the 23 man squad to play in the African Nations Cup and appointed as the team captain. He scored a stunning freekick in the 5th minute of injury time to end a cagey match against Nigeria and take them to the final. Algeria won the tournament by defeating Cameroon 1-0 and becoming African Champions. This took Mahrez’s medals to 4 in a single season.
Coaches had told Mahrez he couldn't make it as a footballer
Riyad Mahrez wasn’t the most physically developed player. In fact, he still looks skinny in comparison to other Premier League stars.
The 25-year-old revealed, “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.”
Mohamed Coulibaly, the technical director of Sarcelles FC, told the French daily, “He was very frail. But he never gave up and that’s paying off. You can see on the pitch that he never hides. From very early on he learned to take responsibilities. He has something more than technique; he has the guts and character that make great players.”
Dad's death encouraged Mahrez to pursue a career in football
Mahrez's Algerian father Ahmed was the driving force behind his son's early interest in football, but he did not live to see the dream fulfilled. Ahmed, who had a longstanding heart condition and a pacemaker fitted in his early 20s, died of a heart attack aged 54 when Riyad was only 15.
Mahrez used grief to fuel his ambition to succeed. Mahrez told reporters that his father’s 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."
Mahrez revealed, “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 kick start. 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,” he added.
Mahrez is a friend of Paul Pogba's brother Mathias
Another top fact is that the 25-year-old is a close friend of the Juventus midfielder’s brother, Mathias. In a recent interview, Pogba revealed that the duo got along together when Mahrez joined minnows, Quimper who used to play in the seventh tier of French football.
And although they are still good friends, the duo got off to a rocky start due to the Algerian midfielder's untidiness.
“As a room-mate, first of all, I couldn't get on with him because he was not tidy at all,
“I had to domesticate him, I had to put him on his feet. Then after two or three months, everything was alright.”
“With the ball at his feet he's unstoppable, but I always told him, ‘You need to get bigger because you are too skinny,’” The Frenchman added,
When asked to compare the Algerian with his younger brother, Mathias said, “Can he be as good as Paul? I think he can.”
Mahrez tied the knot with an Englishwoman named Rita Johal in the summer of 2015 before committing his professional future to the Foxes by signing a contract extension until 2019 despite interest from various other big clubs like Roma and Villarreal.
Only a few friends and family members were invited to the wedding ceremony. They welcomed their first daughter, Inanya, later that year and their second daughter in 2019 whose name is not known.
Riyad and Rita dated for five months before exchanging their wedding vows in 2015. Later, they got married in a secret ceremony.
Despite the claims that the Algerian is a complete family man, it has recently been reported that Mahrez is dating RHOC star Dawn Ward's daughter Taylor after splitting from his ex-model wife Rita.
Mahrez is the first Algerian to score a Premier League hat-trick
Riyad Mahrez is the first and only Algerian to have scored a Premier League hat-trick. On 5 December 2015, the 25-year-old had achieved this impressive feat during Leicester’s decisive 3-0 win over Swansea City FC.
Even Ali Benarbia, who used to play for Manchester City from 2001 to 2003 couldn’t achieve this.
The Algerian international has been in scintillating form this season finding the back of the net several times and creating chances on other occasions in the Premier League alone, forming a lethal pairing with Jamie Vardy.
Mahrez thought Leicester City was a rugby club
While Mahrez was playing for Le Havre, English Championship club Leicester City's scout, Steve Walsh, was monitoring his teammate Ryan Mendes but was instead impressed by Mahrez.
On 11 January 2014, Mahrez signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the club. His friends and family were initially skeptical of a move to English football, believing that his style of play would be more suited to Spain.
"I never thought I would play in England. But I spoke to my agent and he said it would be very good for you," he told The Guardian. "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."
In the end, the Foxes secured him in 2014 for £450,000 ($600,000), a deal that worked out very well for both parties.
It turned out that the 25-year-old didn’t even know who Leicester was before he set his feet in England.
In a recent interview, he admitted, “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. I was like ‘I don't know’ but then I came here to see the facilities and they were good. I do not regret signing for them; it's the best club I've ever been at.”
Mahrez net worth
It is speculated that Mahrez has an estimated net worth of $25 million USD. His net worth is boosted by his endorsement deals with Nike and Pepsi to mention a few. He currently earns an annual salary of £10.4 million Pounds.