12 Things You Should Know About 2016 African Player Of The Year Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez was named as the 2016 African Player of the Year by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) a few days ago, and will go to the 2017 AFCON as the best player on the continent.
The Algerian winger for English Premier League champions Leicester City was a popular choice as the winner, after his exploits over the course of the last year for both club and country.
The 25-year-old finished fifth in the top scorers list for the EPL last season, behind Harry Kane, teammate Jamie Vardy, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku.
We take a look 12 things you should know about the 2016 African Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez.
Mahrez key to stunning Leicester City season
The Algerian international was an important contributor to a highly successful year for his English club in which they beat 5000-1 odds to lift the Premier League title in 2015-16. The victorious season saw a great return from 25-year-old, with 17 league goals and 11 assists bearing his signature.
He is the 25th winner of the individual African accolade
Mahrez was named the best soccer player on the African continent for the year 2016 at a gala event in Abuja on January 5, making him the 25th recipient of the award that was launched in 1992.
Mahrez beat stiff competition to the African Player of the Year award
Mahrez won the individual prize at the expense of fellow nominees Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gabon striker who plays for Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga, and Senegalese winger Sadio Mane, who currently represents Liverpool in the Premier League.
First PFA Player of the Year from Africa
His exploits in attack for Leicester secured him another individual award at the end of the 2015-16 season, as his fellow professionals voted him as the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year.
Joined Leicester City from Le Havre
On 11 January 2014, Mahrez signed a three-and-a-half-year deal to join Leicester City from French club Le Havre, when the Foxes were still in the Championship. He helped them to secure promotion to the Premier League.
He was born in France
Mahrez’s place of birth was Sarcelles, in France. The Algerian star striker opted to play for the nation of his roots rather than the country of his birth, allowing him to win the 2016 African Player of the Year award as an Algerian national.
Leicester City brought in compatriot Slimani to partner Mahrez in attack
At the beginning of the current season Leicester City bought fellow Algerian international Islam Slimani from Portuguese Primeira Liga side Sporting Lisbon, with coach Claudio Ranieri spending a club record £29.7 million to unite the Algerians in attack.
He was nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2016
The shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award which recognises the best soccer player in the world was released in November, with Algerian Mahrez and Gabon’s Aubameyang included as Africa’s representatives. Mahrez eventually placed as the seventh best player in the world, while Ronaldo won the award.
He chose Algeria over France
In 2013 Mahrez expressed his wish to represent Algeria internationally rather than France, his country of birth. He was called up to the provisional Algerian squad for the 2014 World Cup, and went on to represent the Desert Foxes at the World Cup and 2015 AFCON. He will also lead the Algerian attack at the 2017 Na
Mahrez is a muslim
The established Algerian international with over 25 caps and six goals for his country is a practising Muslim, and his teammates and peers express a great appreciation for his character and friendly personality.
Algeria will be boosted at the 2017 AFCON with Africa’s top player
The individual honour serves as a major boost for the Fennec Foxes of Algeria ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) this month, as the team will be able to count on the services of the current African Player of the Year in their quest to be crowned champions of Africa.
He won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award
Alongside his other individual accolades for the past year, the striker also won the BBC African Footballer of the Year prize, coming out ahead of Mane and Aubameyang once again to scoop the respected media award.
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