Few would have expected the impact Riyad Mahrez would have at Leicester City when he became the Club’s first signing of the January 2014 transfer window at King Power Stadium.
The Algerian winger scored three goals in the Sky Bet Championship as City booked promotion to the Premier League under Nigel Pearson before again proving invaluable the following year with four strikes to secure the Club’s Premier League status.
But it was during the 2015/16 campaign when Mahrez, with a unique blend of skill and creativity, made headlines across the globe with 17 goals as Claudio Ranieri led the Foxes to a historic Premier League title, the first top-flight success of their 132-year history.
With crucial goals against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, the former Le Havre winger received a host of individual accolades, too, including the PFA Player of the Year, the CAF African Footballer of the Year and a seventh-place finish on the Ballon d’Or vote.
Later scoring four goals in the UEFA Champions League group stage, as Ranieri’s men finished atop of Group G, the Algerian would go on to represent his country alongside Foxes team-mate at the African Cup of Nations in 2017.
The French-Algerian made his name with former Club Le Havre in the French Ligue 2, where his performances from the wide right caught the eye of City’s scouts.
A predominantly left footed player, Mahrez is blessed with natural pace and the undoubted ability to glide past defenders.
Before he joined the Foxes, Mahrez made 20 appearances for Le Havre in 2013/14, scoring six times and providing five assists from the right side of midfield.
His first Leicester City goal was truly one to remember, as he scored a vital equaliser against local rivals Nottingham Forest at the City Ground back in February 2014.
His exploits for City caught the attentions of the Algerian national team, who named Mahrez in their squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
After making his debut in the build up, Mahrez started his country’s opening fixture against Belgium, becoming the first Leicester player since Muzzy Izzet in 2002 to play at a World Cup.
Continuing his fine form in a Leicester shirt, Mahrez made his debut in England’s top flight against Everton on the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign.
His lively performances out wide would soon be rewarded with his first Premier League goal in the draw with Burnley, while his match-winning strike in the victory over Hull City in December proved vital to City’s survival.
Mahrez missed several fixtures throughout January as he helped Algeria to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, before the winger resumed his Club duties in early February.
After his heroics during the 2015/16 campaign, however, his stock had risen to that of a global phenomenon and he agreed a new four-year contract with the Club the following summer.
Mahrez netted four times in the UEFA Champions League, including a brace on his European debut.