Mahrez wins ‘ex­tra spe­cial’ PFA player of year award

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL PREMIER LEAGUE - By Sam Wal­lace

Riyad Mahrez is the first African foot­baller to win the Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers As­so­ci­a­tion Player of the Year award – but he kept the cer­e­mony last night wait­ing with a late ar­rival.

The Le­ices­ter City con­tin­gent, fly­ing on four he­li­copters from the King Power Sta­dium to Bat­tersea heli­port, ar­rived at the Grosvenor House ho­tel on Park Lane, cen­tral Lon­don, at only around 9.30pm.

Mahrez, 25, was ac­com­pa­nied by his team-mates who made the de­ci­sion to come en masse once it be­came clear he had won. Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante were also on the six-man short­list.

The play­ers were sent on their way with the best wishes of owner Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha af­ter their 4-0 win over Swansea City that put them five points away from win­ning the Premier League ti­tle. Mahrez ded­i­cated his win to his team-mates and man­ager, Clau­dio Ranieri. “All the credit is for them, se­ri­ously,” Mahrez said.

“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.

“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 am happy. With­out my team-mates I wouldn’t get this award.”

Mahrez also spoke of his pride at be­ing the first African player to re­ceive the award won last year by Chelsea play­maker Eden Haz­ard.

“It’s an hon­our to be the first African – not the best but the first,” Mahrez added.

The Tot­ten­ham and Eng­land mid­fielder Dele Alli won the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award, news that had al­ready in­ad­ver­tently been an­nounced dur­ing the day.

Ryan Giggs joined a long line of Manch­ester United greats by win­ning the PFA Merit Award.

The for­mer winger fol­lowed in the foot­steps of Sir Alex Fer­gu­son, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Bobby Charl­ton in pick­ing up the prize, which is given for “mer­i­to­ri­ous ser­vice to foot­ball”.

Giggs made a club record 963 ap­pear­ances for United and re­mains the most dec­o­rated player in the English game.

“I’m chuffed to have won all three awards, the young player was a long time ago and then the player award was a big sur­prise,” Giggs said. “This is the cul­mi­na­tion of around 25 years since my de­but, so it’s a credit to my­self, my team­mates, staff, fam­ily and friends.”

Pride of Le­ices­ter: Riyad Mahrez be­came the first African foot­baller to win the PFA Player of the Year award

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.