Algeria’s Mahrez Named Footballer of the Year
BBC NEWS AT BBC.CO.UK/NEWS
Riyad Mahrez was crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016.
Fans from across the world voted for the midfielder, who plays for Algeria’s national team, nicknamed the Fennecs, as well as for Leicester City in the English Premier League. He came in ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure in the voting.
The award caps an exceptional year for the 25-year-old winger, who had already won the Premier League title and was voted the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year.
It was further recognition for his outstanding form as Mahrez, whose family comes from the small town of El Khemis in Algeria, took the Premier League by storm. He was a driving force in Leicester City’s shock title triumph, scoring 17 goals and providing 11 assists as the Foxes pulled off what had been a 5,000-to-1 shot before the season.
In May 2016, Mahrez became the first African to be voted the best player in the league by his fellow professionals, only two years after he had joined Leicester from Le Havre for more than $500,000.
Mahrez has risen from playing street football as a youngster to shining in the company of some of the world’s best footballers. In 2016, he proved he could thrive at the highest level, scoring four goals in his first five games in the Champions League.
He also has excelled on the international stage. In five matches for Algeria, he scored two goals, provided five assists and helped the team qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.