Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez in running for top football award

By Mark Farmer

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Sunderland at The King Power Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez has made the shortlist for this year’s coveted Ballon d’Or award.

The Algerian international was a pivotal player in Leicester City’s team from last season, notching up 17 goals, which helped the Foxes win the Premier League and qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Ex-City midfielder Muzzy Izzet, one of the finest players in Leicester City’s history, said it was a real boost for the Foxes to have one of their players nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.

“I’ve watched Mahrez closely over the past couple of seasons. He’s improved vastly as a player. He’s toughened up and he doesn’t just cut inside on his left foot. He’s added much more to his game.

“He’s a brilliant player and a joy to watch. I hope he gets it.”

 

 

The nomination for the award sees him joins the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) and former winners; Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona) who is bidding to retain the gong.

As of yesterday more than two million votes had been cast on France Football’s website, the French media outlet has conducted a poll asking its readers to cast their vote for who they think should win the Ballon d’Or.

It is believed that Mahrez currently leads the way in the poll with 39 per cent of the votes coming in for the Leicester City winger, ahead of Euro 2016 winner Ronaldo and Messi who sit on 26 and 20 per cent respectively.

Mahrez was named Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year last season following Leicester City’s heroics, which has seen teammate Jamie Vardy also make the cut for the award.

Should the Algerian scoop the award it will be the first time an African player has won since Liberian George Weah in 1995.

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