MAHREZ

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez wins BBC African Player of the Year after beating Yaya Toure and Sadio Mane

MAHREZ

MAHREZ

Riyad Mahrez has been named BBC African Player of the Year after an incredible 12 months which included winning the Premier League.

Leicester City and Algeria winger Mahrez was announced as the winner on Monday evening, beating competition which included fellow Premier League players including Sadio Mane, Yaya Toure and Andre Ayew.

Mahrez played a pivotal role in helping Leicester stun football by winning the Premier League last season.

BBC AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR PAST WINNERS

2015 – Yaya Toure

2014 – Yacine Brahimi

2013 – Yaya Toure

2012 – Christopher Katongo

2011 – Andre Ayew

It is the first time Mahrez has won the accolade, which was collected last year by Toure and in its first year by Ayew.

The BBC’s Peter Okwoche announced Mahrez as the winner during a special presentation, and Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri joined Okwoche at the club’s training ground to present Mahrez with the trophy.

Mahrez said: ‘It means a lot, it’s something big for African players so I am very happy, I am very proud.

‘It’s always good to receive awards and for African players it’s a huge honour. To all the fans, thank you very much. I just have to carry on and keep going with my football and see what I can do.’

Mahrez emerged as the most popular player from a public vote in a shortlist that also included Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Borussia Dortmund), Ayew (Ghana and West Ham United), as well as Mane (Senegal and Liverpool) and Toure (Ivory Coast and Manchester City).

During Leicester’s title triumph, Mahrez was a key figure, scoring 17 goals and providing 11 assists.

He also excelled on the international stage for Algeria to help them qualify for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, delivering five assists and two goals across five matches.

Mahrez was voted the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year – the first African to win the award.

His achievements were recognised by FIFA, who included him on their shortlist for Player of the Year, while Mahrez was announced as the seventh-highest finisher in Ballon d’Or voting on Monday, with team-mate Jamie Vardy a place behind in eighth.

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