Mahrez’s Shimmering Career Journey: From Manchester City’s Crown to Al-Ahli’s Star Jewel
Riyad Mahrez, a beacon of grace on the pitch, has inked his destiny with Saudi Pro League giants Al-Ahli. His celebrated journey with Manchester City comes to a glorious end, with a £30 million deal inked between the two footballing institutions.
Mahrez: A Marquee Name for SPL
Now 32, Mahrez was left with two seasons on his City contract before Al-Ahli swooped in. The Saudi Pro League has continued its tradition of magnetising marquee names with this deal. Manchester City made a £60m investment on the Algerian winger back in 2018, a move that paid off handsomely, with Mahrez netting 15 goals across 47 matches in City’s Treble-clinching campaign the previous season.
For Mahrez, his time at City was “an honour and privilege.” He affirmed, “I came to City to win trophies and enjoy my football. I achieved all that and so much more. I’ve made a lifetime of wonderful memories. Manchester City will forever be a huge and happy part of my life.”
Reflections on Mahrez’s Resplendent Era at City
A hero in the Blue half of Manchester, Mahrez’s absence will indeed be noticed. He has played a starring role in City’s collection of 10 major accolades in his five-season tenure, even though he remained on the bench for both the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, praised the departing Mahrez saying, “Riyad has been a major factor in our amazing successes over the past five years and his contribution will not be forgotten. He is a wonderful footballer to watch and leaves us with so many great memories. There are few wingers that possess his levels of skill and technique in world football, and he will be missed.”
SPL’s Rising Fame: The New Destination for Premier League Stars?
An intriguing trend seems to be emerging with the Saudi Pro League’s audacious recruitment. Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, and Ruben Neves have already followed Cristiano Ronaldo to the sun-soaked pitches of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Steven Gerrard has been appointed the manager of Al-Ettifaq, with Michael Emenalo taking the reins as the SPL’s director of football. This star-studded migration hints at the SPL’s growing ambitions to become a top-five league globally, aided by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) taking control of four leading clubs, including Al-Ahli.
A Summer of Speculation and Transfers at Man City
Mahrez’s departure was pre-empted by his absence from the pre-season Asian tour, making him the only senior player to miss out. Meanwhile, speculations circulate around the futures of English defender Kyle Walker, Portuguese midfield maestro Bernardo Silva, and Spanish defensive wall Aymeric Laporte. Reports have also suggested that Bayern Munich are eyeing Walker, although it remains unconfirmed.
Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo is secured at City after Bayern chose not to convert last season’s six-month loan into a permanent deal. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Zach Steffen is nursing a knee injury, sparking rumours of a possible exit.
A riveting season lies ahead as Manchester City prepares for life without the sparkling Algerian talisman, Riyad Mahrez.