A Leicester midfielder, Riyad Mahrez has been named the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the year.
The Algeria born is the first African player to win the award PA
Mahrez was presented with the prestigious trophy at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday after contributing 17 goals and 11 assists to the Foxes’ fairytale campaign.
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli won the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Mahrez was flown down by helicopter to the ceremony from the King Power Stadium, where Claudio Ranieri’s side had earlier thrashed Swansea 4-0 to move eight points clear at the top of the table.
The Algerian held off competition from Dimitri Payet, Harry Kane, Mesut Ozil and fellow Leicester men Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante to win the award, but dedicated the success to his team-mates.
“All the credit is for them and for my manager 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 team-mates I wouldn’t get this award.”
Mahrez has been instrumental in his team’s remarkable rise and he now joins a glittering list of former winners that includes Kenny Dalglish, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Some bookmakers had Leicester at 5000/1 to be crowned champions at the start of the season, but, with three games left, they stand on the brink of arguably the greatest shock in English football history.
“The secret has been team spirit,” Mahrez said.
“We work so hard for each other. We are like brothers, it’s everywhere on the pitch. That’s our strength.
“If sometimes we are not good, we know we are going to run and make the effort for our team-mates. That is the secret of our success.”