The one that many spectators saw as the man of a single season is he silencing the bad tongues? This week, Riyad Mahrez struck a blow by eliminating alone - or almost - Paris Saint-Germain from the Champions League, with his three goals. The Algerian Manchester City, who had a hit in 2016 with Leicester, the club with which he had won the Premier League title, to everyone's surprise, was elected African player that year. The Algerian then let the Sadio Mané-Mohamed Salah duo reign over the English championship and the title of African player of the year. Since 2017, the two Liverpool players have monopolized the debates: while the Egyptian has already won the title of African player of the year twice in a row, Sadio Mané is the defending champion.
We can't bar his way in 2021
In 2020, Covid-19 requires, no footballer has been able to win the title of African player of the year. But in 2021, the hierarchy could well be shaken, as Mahrez has splashed England and Europe with his talent. The Citizen is indeed back at the highest level, after a mixed first season in Manchester and a second marked by the coronavirus. The Algerian has a record that speaks for himself: in addition to his title of Premier League champion, he now has an African championship title with the Fennecs and could above all achieve a historic quadruple - FA Cup, Coupe de la Ligue, championship and Champions League - this season. Impossible to bar his way in 2021: Riyad Mahrez can only be chosen as African player of the year. Neither Mané, nor Salah, nor even Idrissa Gueye, Édouard Mendy or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can overshadow him.
Algeria, the heart's choice
Former player of Quimper then Le Havre, in France, the captain of the Fennecs experienced a meteoric rise in his last years. After a surprising season with Leicester, he left his mark on the football world. Until becoming the top Algerian scorer in the Champions League with - for the moment - ten goals to his counter. But Mahrez is also and above all the symbol of Algeria. While he could very well have joined the French selection, the player made "a natural choice" by deciding to wear the Algerian jersey. "Because of my attachment to the country and in memory of my father, I decided to opt for Algeria", assures the champion. Hard-working and always classy, Mahrez is the pride of a whole people. Never before him had an Algerian brought home the title of best player of the year*. Riyadh could do a double blow by winning the award again for his exceptional season. One, two, three, viva Algeria!
* Rabah Madjer and Lakhdar Belloumi won the African Ballon d'Or in the 1980s, a competition organized by France Football magazine and which no longer exists today.