Algerian and Leicester midfielder, Riyad Mahrez has been announced as the winner of the 2016 BBC African Footballer of the Year award.
25 -year-old Mahrez beat four other nominees – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure to get the prestigious award, following his impressive 2015/16 campaign with Leicester City.
The award caps an exceptional year for the Algerian, who had already won the English Premier League title and was voted Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, after guiding Claudio Ranieri’s side to their first ever Premier League title.
It is 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.
Mahrez, who contributed with 17 goals and 10 assists to his side’s fairytale campaign, has now become the second Algerian star to lift the African award in three years.
His compatriot, Yacine Brahimi won the individual prize in 2014, while Toure was named the BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2013 and 2015.
Riyad Mahrez has made a remarkable rise 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 can thrive at the highest level, scoring four goals in his first five games in the Champions League.
He has also excelled on the international stage. In five matches for Algeria, he scored two goals and provided five assists, and helped them qualify for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations.
His achievements have also been recognized by football’s world governing body FIFA, who included him on its shortlist for Player of the Year – the only African among the 23 names.
Mahrez now joins a list of greats, including Abedi Pele, George Weah, Jay-Jay Okocha and Didier Drogba, to have won the BBC African Footballer of the year award.
An excited Riyad Mahrez who dedicated the award to Algerian fans and his family, thanked all his fans for the huge honour saying it means a lot to him and it’s something big for African players.
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