Mahrez Still Keen To Prove His Worth To Guardiola

File photo of Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez on September 25, 2018. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Riyad Mahrez will be pushing for a starting place in Pep Guardiola’s line-up against Brighton as Manchester City’s club record-signing continues to adapt to life at Eastlands. 

The Algeria winger, signed for £60 million ($79 million, 67 million euros) from Leicester in pre-season, has made a relatively subdued start to life with the Premier League champions.

Mahrez has started just two of City’s six league games to date, despite the absence of playmaker Kevin De Bruyne who is expected to be out for a further two months with a knee ligament injury.

Guardiola has spoken of players needing time to adapt to his demanding style of play and, in the case of Mahrez, there has also been the upheaval of joining a new club.

But after scoring twice after coming off the bench in last weekend’s emphatic 5-0 victory at Cardiff — his first goals since moving to City – Mahrez insisted he is finally becoming accustomed to Guardiola’s unique demands.

‘Keep going’

“The manager has helped me a lot, and in the last two weeks, I have felt a lot better,” said Mahrez, 27.

“You can see that on the pitch. I never complain, I just work hard in training, and it’s paying off now. But I have to keep going –- scoring is not a final thing.”

Mahrez is not the first senior City player to have struggled, at first, with Guardiola’s intense approach to the game in which players have to pull their weight defensively, whatever their attacking talents.

Most famously, the club’s legendary record goalscorer Sergio Aguero has spoken openly of how it took his time to adapt his own game after Guardiola took over at the Etihad.

But with Mahrez starting, and scoring again, in the 3-0 midweek League Cup victory at Oxford United, it would appear the former Leicester star is winning that particular personal battle.

Guardiola offered an insight into that process of adjustment when, following the recent victory, he spoke about in-form Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva who has started this campaign brilliantly after struggling at times last season.

‘Need more time’

And the City manager expects Mahrez to respond in the same way.

“In the beginning, it was a little bit difficult,” said Guardiola. “Bernardo came from France to England and, even for me, I needed a period to know, to understand a little bit about the way we wanted to play and in the way that we are aggressive without the ball. Sometimes we need more time.

“It has happened a little bit with Riyad. It is going to happen in the future. Riyad is going to come back the same as we saw with Leicester, or with Bernardo right now.”

The Catalan boss added: “And that is why I like to work with these kinds of players. They always try their best. For 60, 90, 20 minutes — all the time they play with the smile and for him and the team.”

Mahrez may yet be reduced to starting the weekend game with Brighton on the bench, given the strength in depth Guardiola has at his disposal.

And even though Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz impressed in the victory over Oxford, the City manager has shown little appetite for giving such youngsters extended minutes in the Premier League.

Man City will be looking to maintain a strong start to their title defense in which a draw at Wolves represents the only point they have dropped thus far this term.

Guardiola’s major decision would appear to revolve around the left-back position, given France international Benjamin Mendy is currently sidelined with a metatarsal injury.

As he did last season, Fabian Delph has deputized in that position but was unimpressive in the recent Champions League loss to Lyon and Brazilian Danilo, who started against Oxford after recovering from early-season injury, may be selected instead.

AFP

Riyad Mahrez Completes Dream Move To Manchester City

CAF Awards: Mahrez Is Africa's Best Footballer In 2016

 

 

Algerian international Riyad Mahrez secured his move to Premier League champions Manchester City on Tuesday, seven months after his hopes were dashed when City refused to pay Leicester’s asking price.

This time though Leicester said they had sold him for what is a club-record fee, with some reports suggesting the champions paid £60 million ($79.6million), which would make it their record buy.

The 27-year-old — a pivotal figure when Leicester stormed to a shock Premier League title in 2016 — signed a five-year contract.

“I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola,” Mahrez told the Manchester City website.

“Watching them from afar has been a pleasure.

“Pep is committed to playing attacking football, which is a perfect for me, and City’s performances last season were outstanding.”

Mahrez, who was so upset at not gaining his move to City at the beginning of the year he sat out two matches, said his new club were revolutionising the game in England.

“They’re redefining the English game and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Mahrez.

“I think we can be successful over the coming years and I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.”

AFP

Mahrez Refuses To Say He Will Stay At Leicester

Leicester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (R) vies with Bournemouth’s English midfielder Dan Gosling during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Bournemouth at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 3, 2018.
Roland HARRISON / AFP

 

Leicester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez refused on Thursday to quash speculation surrounding his future but did say he maintains a good relationship with the club.

Mahrez was absent from training for 10 days last month after Leicester turned down a bid from runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in the January transfer window.

The Algerian eventually ended his self-imposed exile and scored for the first time since his return with a dramatic late free-kick to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Bournemouth.

However, Mahrez declined to say he would commit his long-term future to the Foxes.

“In football, players come, players leave, I’m not saying I’m coming or going,” Mahrez told Sky Sports.

“We always talk between me and the club, everything is good, so we will see in the summer if things come. At the moment I’m a Leicester player.”

Mahrez did defend his decision to take time away from the club, but claims City would be a “good move” for any player if they were to reignite their interest at the end of the season.

“I was away from here because I needed some time to think, it was a difficult situation,” he added.

“Manchester City is a good move for everyone but it is the past. It is behind me.”

Mahrez also confirmed that a post on his Facebook page this week saying he had retired was the work of hackers.

“I wasn’t bothered. It won’t affect me, so I don’t know why they try to do that. I think everyone knew it had been hacked.”

AFP

Three African Footballers Of The Year Top Goal Scorers In European Leagues

Salah Hits 32nd Goal Of Season As Liverpool Go Second
FILE PHOTO Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England 
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Mohamed Salah, Riyad Mahrez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — the last three African Footballers of the Year — were among the scorers in the major European leagues at the weekend.

Egyptian Salah netted for the seventh consecutive match as Liverpool beat Newcastle 2-0 and Algerian Mahrez struck late to snatch a 1-1 draw for Leicester against Bournemouth

Gabonese Aubameyang scored for Arsenal, but could not prevent a 2-1 Premier League loss at Brighton.

ENGLAND

MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)

Scored his 32nd goal of a remarkable season as he grabbed the opener in Liverpool’s eventual 2-0 win at home to Newcastle. Controlling a pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he shot powerfully through the legs of Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka with his left.

RIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester)

His season threatened to become known solely for the breakdown of a move from Leicester, the 2016 champions, to champions-elect Manchester City, but the playmaker reminded Foxes fans of his quality as a footballer courtesy of a stunning equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth. In the seventh minute of injury-time and from 25 yards out, Mahrez curled a free-kick around the wall and beyond keeper Asmir Begovic to score a sublime goal.

JORDAN AYEW (Swansea)

Together with his brother Andre, he gave the defence of West Ham — Andre’s former club — a torrid time as Swansea swept their visitors from London aside to win 4-1 in south Wales. It was Andre’s first start since his $25 million (20 million euros) move back to the Liberty Stadium and the Ghanaians completed a memorable afternoon’s work when Andre won a penalty that Jordan converted for the Swans’ fourth goal.

VICTOR MOSES (Chelsea)

Had the misfortune to be run ragged by Leroy Sane as Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the table to 18 points with a 1-0 win over Chelsea. One consolation for Nigeria wing-back Moses is that he’s unlikely to have to mark anyone else in Sane’s class during the rest of the Premier League season.

SPAIN

NORDIN AMRABAT (Leganes)

The 30-year-old Dutch-born Amrabat scored Leganes’s second goal in the 2-0 home win over bottom club Malaga in the 62nd minute. He had been booked in the first half of the match against a team where he spent the 2015-2016 season. The Moroccan international is on loan from Watford.

GERMANY

LEON BALOGUN (Mainz)

Mainz had Nigeria defender Balogun sent off for a second yellow card in a 0-0 draw at Hamburg when he fouled Luca Waldschmidt in the area on 61 minutes. The referee pointed to the spot, but the weak kick was saved by goalkeeper Florian Mueller on his Bundesliga debut.

NABY KEITA (RB Leipzig)

Leipzig took the lead when Liverpool-bound Guinean Keita, back after a thigh injury, played a pass through Borussia Dortmund’s defence which Jean-Kevin Augustin tucked away on 29 minutes. Germany winger Marco Reus equalised just before the break.

FRANCE

WAHBI KHAZRI/ISMAILA SARR (Rennes)

The Tunisia playmaker scored for the third game in a row as Rennes climbed to fifth courtesy of a 2-0 win at Amiens. Moments after rattling the crossbar with a first-half free-kick, Khazri latched onto a long punt upfield and slotted away his team-leading ninth goal of the season via a healthy deflection. Senegalese forward Ismaila Sarr then sealed a victory for Rennes four minutes from the end.

AFP

Rebellious Mahrez To Miss Swansea Clash

Leicester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez   Photo: Lindsey PARNABY / AFP

 

Riyad Mahrez will not be included in Leicester City boss Claude Puel’s squad for the visit of Swansea City as the Algerian’s standoff with the Foxes for their refusal to entertain a deadline day bid from Manchester City rumbles on.

Mahrez has not trained since City’s withdrew their interest on Wednesday’s due to Leicester’s demands.

“Riyad is not available for this game,” Puel told a news conference on Friday.

“All I can say about the situation is that this is the best decision for Leicester, in the best interests of Leicester. It is also the best decision for Riyad.

“It is a tough situation for us to manage but now it is time to move on and keep our focus.”

It is not the first time that Mahrez, who played a huge role in inspiring Leicester’s remarkable 2015/16 Premier League triumph, has tried to force his way out at the King Power.

However, Puel is hopeful the 26-year-old can return for the remainder of the season having also played a big part in Leicester’s upturn in fortunes since the French coach replaced Craig Shakespeare in October.

“I hope he can come back with us. He is an important player for us, of course,” added Puel.

“He can come back to the team and we need to stay united. It is difficult to manage but it will stay inside the club. We need to move forward and focus on football.

“We can’t change anything about the situation. We needs to find again a good feeling and help him come back with a positive attitude to enjoy his football.”

Reports suggest City were willing to offer £50 million ($71 million, 57 million euros) plus a player they valued at £15 million to land Mahrez.

But the Foxes asking price was closer to £80 million cash which the Premier League leaders were not willing to pay.

Mahrez joined Leicester for just £350,000 from French side Le Havre in 2014.

AFP

Shakespeare Coy On Match-Winner Mahrez’s Future

CAF Awards: Mahrez Is Africa's Best Footballer In 2016

Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare admitted the club may have to accept Riyad Mahrez will leave this summer.

The Algerian midfielder has been linked with a move abroad or to another Premier League club, but reminded Leicester fans of his worth with a goal as his side beat West Brom on penalties in a pre-season friendly in Hong Kong.

Speaking at a news conference after the match, Shakespeare said he was aware of the speculation around Mahrez, and the club would have to deal with what ever happened.

“I don’t think it’s just tonight. I know what Riyad Mahrez can do. We all know that. We know the situation. And we’ve all got to deal with it. And I’ve stated before, Riyad , since his return, has been very professional in his attitude and I expect that to continue,” he said.

Leicester progressed to the final where they will play Liverpool, winning 7-6 on spot kicks after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

PFA Awards: Hazard, Kante Among Nominees

Courtsey: thesun.co.uk

Eden Hazard and N’golo Kante have been named among the six nominees for the men’s PFA Players’ Player of the year award.

The Chelsea duo are joined by Manchester United Forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tottenham Striker, Harry Kane, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez on the full shortlist.

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez scooped the prize in 2016, while Hazard won the award during the 2014/15 campaign.

The 44th PFA Awards will be hold in London on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

Leekens Resigns As Algeria’s National Football Team Coach

george-leekens-former-algerian-coachThe Coach of Algeria’s National football team, George Leekens, has resigned following the team’s early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The Desert Foxes were among the favourites to win the trophy but crashed out on Monday after failing to win a game and gathered just two points from group B.

In a statement on the Algerian Football Federation’s website, Leekens said: “For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heartache.

“I wish all the success in the world to the national side”.

With an impressive team that has current African Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City’s Islam Slimani, the Belgian was expected to challenge for the AFCON title.

Algeria are also struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Desert Foxes are bottom of Group B, after two matches, recording a draw and a loss.

Only the group winners go through and they already trail Nigeria by five points.

“Given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” Leekens added.

The Algerian Football Federation is yet to announce who will take over from the vacant role.

Glo CAF Awards Final Shortlist Unveiled

Glo CAF Awards Final Shortlist UnveiledGabonese midfielder, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Algeria winger, Riyad Mahrez and Senegalese winger, Sadio Mané, have made the final top three for the 2016 CAF Awards African Player of the Year.

The trio made the cut following votes from head coaches or technical directors of the national associations, media committee, technical and football committee and a panel of media experts.

An initial list of 10 finalists was whittled down to five earlier this month, but Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Algerian striker Islam Slimani have now fallen out of the reckoning.

The winner will be unveiled at the awards gala January 5 in Abuja.

Aubameyang, won the award in 2015 and is favourite to retain it following his impressive form in the German Bundesliga this season.

Yaya Toure Charged With Drink Driving

Yaya Toure Charged With Drink DrivingManchester City’s returnee midfileder, Yaya Toure has been charged with drink driving, police have confirmed.

Police said the 33-year-old of Macclesfield, Cheshire was driving in Dagenham in east London at the time of the alleged offence.

Police said he was charged on Tuesday with driving while his alcohol level was above the legal limit.

He has been bailed and is due to appear at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on 13 December.

The midfielder played in Manchester City’s 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday but the club is yet to comment.

Yaya Toure is a nominee for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016 for the eight time.

Yaya won the award last year and in 2012 so is chasing an unprecedented third triumph, though he faces stiff competition from Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, West Ham’s Andre Ayew, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Algeria To Name Squad For Nigeria On November 1

Algerian Football Federation, Nigeria, Desert Foxes, AlgeriaThe Algerian Football Federation says the list of players invited for the 2018 World Cup qualifier match against Nigeria will be revealed on Tuesday, November 1.

The football federation says new manager, Georges Leekens, would unveil his plans for the Desert Foxes after the roster is announced.

Reports say regular team members such as Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, Yacine Brahimi, Sofiane Feghouli and Adlene Guedioura are in the squad.

They added that Adam Ounas who was recently cleared by FIFA was also listed.

The Foxes are expected to arrive in Nigeria on November 9 for the game scheduled for November 12 at the ‘Nest of Champions’ in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

Leekens took over as the Desert Foxes’ coach after the Algerian football governing body sacked Milovan Rajevac.

Rajevac was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, October 11, following the team’s 1-1 draw against Cameroon.

 

Messi, Ronaldo Others Contend For 2016 Ballon d’Or

Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, Cristiano RonaldoFootball legend, Lionel Messi has been shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2016 Ballon d’Or award.

France Football magazine reveals that the 30-man list is being released in bunches of five players throughout Monday, October 24.

The award which has been given annually by France Football since 1956 has become the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the past six years.

Barcelona forward, Messi has bagged the honour for a record fifth time while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo has won the award three times.

ronaldo_2788476b
Cristiano Ronaldo

The French magazine has released the names of 30 nominees of the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Full List
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City & Argentina)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus & Argentina)
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus & Argentina)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
Koke (Atletico Madrid & Spain)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München & Poland)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur & France)
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
Thomas Müller (Bayern München & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)
Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United & France)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Spain)
Rui Patricio (Sporting CP & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City & England)
Arturo Vidal (Bayern München & Chile).