Riyad Mahrez is an Algerian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Premier League club Manchester City and captains the Algerian national team.
Born in Sarcelles, France to Algerian parents, Mahrez began his football career in the youth academy at French club AAS Sarcelles. He turned professional with Quimper and then Le Havre, before moving to England in 2014 to sign for Leicester City.
At Leicester, Mahrez was instrumental in their sensational 2015-16 Premier League winning campaign. His performances earned him the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards. In 2018, he joined Manchester City for a club-record £60 million fee.
Mahrez made his international debut for Algeria in 2014 and captained them to victory at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He has earned over 60 caps for Algeria, scoring 14 goals.
In this article, we will look at Mahrez’s background, his playing career so far at club and international level, his net worth and personal life.
Early Life and Background
- Riyad Karim Mahrez was born on February 21, 1991 in Sarcelles, France. He is 31 years old.
- His parents emigrated from Algeria to France in 1970s. He grew up in Sarcelles suburb near Paris.
- Mahrez began playing football at a young age, joining a local youth club in Sarcelles.
- He studied at the Lycee Charlie Chaplin in 2008-2009 while continuing to play football.
- Mahrez received French citizenship in 2014. He had previously only held Algerian citizenship.
Early Football Career
- Mahrez joined the youth academy of French club AAS Sarcelles in 2004 at age of 13.
- He spent several years developing in their youth setup and continued his studies alongside.
- In 2009, he got his first professional contract with French club Quimper playing in fourth tier of French league system.
- However, the club suffered financial issues and released several players including Mahrez in 2010.
- Mahrez joined Le Havre in 2010 which played in Ligue 2 or second tier of French football.
- He made his professional debut in a 2–2 draw against Metz in December 2010, coming on as a substitute.
- Over next few seasons, Mahrez established himself as a key first team player for Le Havre, making over 60 appearances and scoring 6 goals.
Move to Leicester City
- In January 2014, Mahrez transferred to English side Leicester City which was playing in the Championship or second tier in England.
- The transfer fee was reported to be around £400,000. It was a club-record sale for Le Havre at that time.
- Mahrez made impressive debut for Leicester as a substitute against Middlesbrough scoring his first goal in a 3-0 win.
- He helped the club gain promotion to Premier League by finishing as Championship winners in his first season in 2014-15.
- In their first season back in Premier League in 2015-16, Mahrez was instrumental in Leicester City incredibly winning the title despite being 5000-1 underdogs at the start.
- He formed a great partnership with striker Jamie Vardy as Leicester shocked everyone to lift the Premier League trophy.
Breakout Season & Individual Honours
- Mahrez had a breakout season in 2015-16, scoring 17 goals with 11 assists in 37 league appearances.
- His dazzling displays earned him the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season awards.
- He also won the FA Cup with Leicester in 2021 beating the Blues 1-0 in the final.
- In total, Mahrez made 179 appearances for Leicester over 4 seasons scoring 39 goals and 29 assists.
Record Transfer to Manchester City
- After winning the Premier League with Leicester, the top clubs in England took notice of Mahrez’s talent.
- In July 2018, Manchester City signed Mahrez for a club-record fee of £60 million.
- This made him the most expensive African footballer and Leicester City’s record sale at that time.
- Mahrez chose to wear the number 26 shirt at City which had been previously worn by club legend Yaya Toure.
- In his first season at Manchester City, Mahrez won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup to complete a domestic treble.
- Playing under Pep Guardiola, Mahrez has won 3 Premier League titles, 4 League Cups and 1 FA Cup at Manchester City so far.
- He has made over 130 appearances for City scoring 29 goals and 20 assists till date.
International Career with Algeria
- Mahrez made his international debut for Algeria in 2014 against Armenia in a friendly match.
- He scored his first international goal in 2015 AFCON qualification match against Malawi.
- Mahrez was part of Algerian team that reached Round of 16 at 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
- He captained Algeria to victory in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations defeating Senegal 1–0 in the final.
- Mahrez has earned over 60 international caps for Algeria, scoring 14 goals as of January 2024.
Playing Style and Strengths
- Mahrez usually plays as a right winger, but can also play on the left or as an attacking midfielder.
- He is known for his flair, agility, dribbling skills and close ball control. Mahrez has excellent technique on the ball.
- His quick acceleration, change of pace and low centre of gravity allows him to glide past defenders with ease.
- Mahrez possesses good vision and creativity to unlock defenses with clever passes and crosses.
- He has an eye for goal and can curl shots into the net from distance with either foot.
- Mahrez’s set piece ability is another important asset. He can deliver dangerous free kicks, corners and penalties.
- Under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Mahrez has added more work rate and defensive discipline to his game.
Mahrez’s Net Worth and Endorsements
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mahrez has an estimated net worth of around $25 million as of 2024. Here are some details:
- His current Manchester City contract pays him over $10 million per year in salary and bonuses.
- Mahrez signed a sponsorship deal with sportswear giant Adidas in 2018.
- He has endorsement deals with several brands like EA Sports, Italia Independent sunglasses and Sky Sports Arabia.
- Mahrez owns several luxurious residential properties in England worth millions.
- He has a lucrative social media presence with 7 million Instagram followers which earns him sponsorships.
- Mahrez’s net worth figure should continue rising given his successful football career.
Personal Life and Relationships
- Mahrez married his English girlfriend Rita Johal in 2015. They live together in Manchester with their two daughters, Inaya and Ayla Mahrez.
- Mahrez tragically lost his father Ahmed at the age of 15 which affected him deeply.
- He has donated money to build a hospital ward in his father’s name in his hometown in Algeria.
- Mahrez is a practising Muslim. He recites verses from Quran before his matches for spiritual guidance.
- He holds dual French-Algerian citizenship. Mahrez obtained his French passport in 2014.
- Mahrez’s hobbies off the pitch include playing other sports like basketball, watching movies and playing video games.
- He is popular on social media with 7 million followers on Instagram and 8 million on Facebook.
Mahrez’s Memorable Performances and Achievements
Let’s look back at some of Mahrez’s memorable performances and biggest achievements during his career so far:
- PFA Players’ Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season 2015-16
- Won Premier League with Leicester City in 2015-16
- Africa Cup of Nations winner and player of tournament in 2019 with Algeria
- Winner’s medal in 2019 FA Cup final with Leicester City
- Won Premier League 2018-19 with Manchester City and named in PFA Team of the Year
- His solo goal against Manchester United in 2020 Carabao Cup semi-final
- Free-kick goal in 2021 Champions League quarterfinal vs Borussia Dortmund
- Match-winning goal in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Nigeria
- 3 Premier League titles, 4 League Cups, 1 FA Cup at Manchester City
In conclusion, Riyad Mahrez is undoubtedly one of the best African footballers of his generation. His journey from the tough suburbs of Paris to become an elite Premier League star and captain of his national team has been an inspiring one.
Mahrez’s creativity, technique, dribbling ability and eye for goal make him a nightmare for defenders. After playing a key role in Leicester City’s miraculous title win, Mahrez earned a big money move to Manchester City where he has won numerous honours.
He continues to be an important player for Pep Guardiola at City and also captains Algeria.
At only 31 years old, Mahrez is currently in his prime years. He has the talent and work ethic to continue performing at the highest level and winning more trophies.