Manchester City sign Riyad Mahrez in record club deal

Mahrez is joining the Premier League champions Man City for £60m. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 11 July 2018
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Manchester City sign Riyad Mahrez in record club deal

  • The 27-year-old Algeria winger was an integral part of Leicester’s astonishing 2016 title
  • I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola: Mahrez

MANCHESTER, England: Manchester City has signed Riyad Mahrez for a club-record £60m ($80 million) as it further strengthens its team after winning the Premier League title.
The 27-year-old Algeria winger was an integral part of Leicester’s astonishing run to the title in 2016, but has been pushing to leave the central England club for a year.
Pep Guardiola’s City, which won the league by 19 points in May, confirmed Tuesday evening that Mahrez has signed a five-year contract.
Mahrez will go down as one of the bargains of the Premier League era, having joined Leicester for a reported 400,000 pounds (now $530,000) from French club Le Havre in 2014.
Scoring 17 goals in Leicester’s title-winning campaign saw Mahrez voted as player of the year in England in 2016.
“I am so pleased to have joined City, a side playing great football under Pep Guardiola. They’re redefining the English game and I wanted to be a part of it,” Mahrez said on City’s website.
“Watching them from afar has been a pleasure. Pep is committed to playing attacking football, which is a perfect for me, and City’s performances last season were outstanding ... I believe my own game can develop under Pep’s management.”
City director of football Txiki Begiristain said Mahrez “beats defenders and creates space ... We’re sure he will bring additional attacking quality to our squad.”
Mahrez helped Leicester to a shock league title, and then played a major role in the club reaching the Champions League quarterfinals the following season.
He made 180 appearances for Leicester, scoring 48 goals.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”