Leicester City’s Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez on Sunday became the first African player to be named English football’s Player of the Year, as voted for by his fellow professionals.
The 25-year-old French-born Algerian international, outstanding in Leicester’s incredible charge towards the Premier League title, received the trophy at a lavish awards ceremony in London.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli was named Young Player of the Year at the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) awards.
Paying tribute to his teammates, Mahrez, who succeeds Chelsea’s Eden Hazard as the winner of the prize, told the ceremony: “All the credit is for them, seriously.
“And for my manager (Claudio Ranieri) and the staff. Without them I wouldn’t receive this award and I wouldn’t score. It’s the team spirit, and I want to dedicate it to them.
“I’m very grateful to receive this award, it’s a pleasure. It’s extra special because if the players vote for me it’s because they’ve seen I’ve been great this year so I’m happy.
“But it’s more team things. Without my teammates I wouldn’t get this award.” Naijabet.com
Mahrez is the first African to win the award and just the second non-European, after Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, then of Liverpool, in 2014.
A £400 000 ($580 000, 514 000 euro) signing from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre in January 2014, Mahrez has contributed 17 goals and 11 assists to help put Leicester on the brink of becoming English champions for the first time.
He had scored the opener in the Foxes’ 4-0 thrashing of Swansea City earlier in the day at the King Power Stadium, which left Claudio Ranieri’s side eight points clear of second-placed Tottenham with three games left to play.