Riyad Mahrez: From Sarcelles to Saudi Arabia

Riyad Mahrez, One of the most gifted and successful footballers of his generation. While playing for some of the top clubs in Europe, the Algerian winger garnered numerous trophies, honors, and accolades. His path to fame, however, was not straightforward because he faced numerous difficulties and roadblocks along the way.

Riyad Mahrez: Early Years in Sarcelles

The French suburb of Sarcelles is where Riyad Mahrez was born on February 21, 1991. His mother Halima was of Algerian and Moroccan ancestry, and his father Ahmed was from the Algerian village of Beni Snous in the Tlemcen region. A younger sister, Innes, and two older sisters, Dounya and Walid, made up his modest family as he was growing up. In addition to idolizing Zinedine Zidane, he had a lifelong passion for football. When he was 13 years old, he joined the neighborhood club AAS Sarcelles.
When he was 15 years old, his father suffered a heart attack, and tragedy struck. This had a profound impact on him and strengthened his resolve to realize his goal of playing professional football. “I don’t know if I became more serious, but after the passing of my father, things started to go well for me,” he said. Perhaps I desired it more in my head.

Discovering the Diamond in the Rough

While Riyad Mahrez was not a particularly strong player in the physical sense, he possessed exceptional talent and skill. In 2009, Quimper, a Brittany club in the fourth division, offered him a trial after seeing how well he performed. After accepting, he left his family behind to begin his senior career. During the 2009–10 season, he appeared in 27 games and scored one goal for Quimper.
Le Havre, a second-division club in Normandy, was impressed by his performances. He joined them in 2010 and at first played for the reserve squad. In November 2011 he made his first appearance for the first team, and over time he became a regular starter. In 60 games for Le Havre between 2011 and 2014, he scored six goals.

Riyad Mahrez’s Rise to Professional Football

Riyad Mahrez received a significant offer from English Championship team Leicester City in January 2014. He was discovered by Steve Walsh, who was awestruck by his flair and originality. Mahrez flew to England to complete his transfer after he agreed to join Leicester for a fee of £400,000.
On February 8, 2014, against Watford, he made his Leicester debut. At the conclusion of his first season, he assisted the team in claiming the Championship title and Premier League promotion. It was incredible, he said. I didn’t anticipate getting a chance to play in the Premier League so soon.

Riyad Mahrez

Under Claudio Ranieri’s leadership, Riyad Mahrez made a smooth transition to the Premier League and established himself as a key member of Leicester. In the 2015–16 Premier League season, he and Jamie Vardy forged a potent partnership that helped Leicester win the title for the first time in club history. In 37 games that season, he scored 17 goals and contributed 11 assists. He also received a number of individual awards, such as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Algerian Footballer of the Year, and a spot on the PFA Team of the Year.

In spite of Leicester’s drop in performance and results in the ensuing seasons, Riyad Mahrez kept shining for the club. In the 2016–17 campaign, he contributed to Leicester’s historic run to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals with 10 goals and seven assists. In the 2017–18 campaign, he scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists as Leicester finished ninth in the Premier League.
Riyad Mahrez struggled at Leicester, though, as he repeatedly tried to force a transfer out of the team. Leicester turned down offers from Arsenal and Manchester City after he submitted transfer requests in January 2017 and January 2018, respectively. Even after his failed attempt to transfer to City in January 2018, he went on strike for ten days.

The Move to Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez eventually fulfilled his dream in July 2018 when he signed a club record £60 million contract to join Manchester City. He remarked, “I am so happy to have joined City, a team playing outstanding football under Pep Guardiola.

Riyad Mahrez had to contend with other elite athletes for a spot in Guardiola’s starting lineup for City. Although he did not play consistently during his first season at City, he still managed to score seven goals and provide assists for four more in 27 Premier League outings. With City that year, he also captured his second Premier League championship.
In his second season at City, Riyad Mahrez improved his form and influence. As City finished second to Liverpool in the Premier League, he contributed nine goals and 14 assists over 33 games. In the UEFA Champions League, where City advanced to the quarterfinals, he also contributed three goals and three assists.
In City’s third season, Riyad Mahrez experienced the pinnacle of his career. In 47 games across all competitions, he scored 14 goals and assisted nine. In the Champions League, he scored four goals and provided assists on three more, including an essential brace against Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals. But City Missed the chance to win the Champions League final for the first time as City lost to Chelsea.

Champions League Glory

Mahrez’s dream of lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy came true in 2023 when Manchester City triumphed in the final. His performances throughout the tournament were exceptional, earning him accolades from football enthusiasts worldwide.
It’s an amazing feeling, said Mahrez. In a great mood. I lack the words. For the team, I believe it is well-deserved.All season long, we’ve put in a lot of effort.

A New Chapter in Saudi Arabia

When Mahrez revealed his intention to leave City in July 2023, he nonetheless shocked a lot of supporters and experts. For a sum of £30 million, he agreed to sign on with the Saudi Pro League team Al-Ahli. After stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, and Ruben Neves, he became the most recent to relocate to Saudi Arabia.
“Manchester City deserves my gratitude for everything they have done for me,” Mahrez said. I had a wonderful time and will always cherish the time we spent together. I also want to express my gratitude to the audience for their love and support. They are incredible.
He continued, “I chose to join Al-Ahli because I was looking for a fresh challenge and a fresh experience. Arabic culture has always piqued my interest, so I believe this is a fantastic chance for me to learn more about it. I also want to support Al-Ahli in their endeavors. They are a sizable club with a rich past and a promising future.
On August 1, 2023, Mahrez defeated Al-Faisaly 3-1 in his Al-Ahli debut, scoring the team’s first goal for the newcomer.


From Sarcelles to Saudi Arabia, Mahrez has had a remarkable career thus far. In various leagues and competitions, he has displayed his talent, tenacity, and adaptability. As the captain of Algeria’s national team, who won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, he has also distinguished himself on a global scale.
Mahrez is among the top players of his generation and among the all-time greats from the continent of Africa. With his life story and accomplishments, he has motivated countless young football players around the world. He truly is a game legend.

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