Champions League glory is target for record Manchester City signing Riyad Mahrez

Winning the Champions League is the main reason Algeria's Riyad Mahrez wanted to join Manchester City for a club record fee of £60 million. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Champions League glory is target for record Manchester City signing Riyad Mahrez

LONDON: Winning the Champions League is the main reason Riyad Mahrez wanted to join Manchester City for a club record fee of £60 million ($79million) he told a press conference on Thursday.
The 27-year-old Algerian international forward had wanted to move to the champions in January but City baulked at the £80 million fee Leicester demanded at the time.
Mahrez, though, said he did not wish to discuss the frustrations of the January transfer window and rather set his sights on what he can achieve at Manchester City.
“It’s a club who wants to win this type of trophy. The Champions League is for big clubs and Manchester City are a big club,” said Mahrez.
“They have everything to try to win the Champions League.
“It is a goal. Last season they lost in the quarter-final and I know they have the ambition to go further the next season.
“That’s why I’m here, why I made the decision to come here, because I want to be part of this.”
Mahrez, who was pivotal to Leicester’s extraordinary title win in 2016 contributing 17 goals, said the size of the fee does not bother him or put pressure on him.
“The prices have been big in every country. This does not affect me,” said Mahrez, who only cost Leicester £400,000 when they signed him in 2014.
Mahrez, who made 179 appearances for Leicester, scoring 48 times, admits there is a fine array of attacking talent already at City, including such as Belgian Kevin de Bruyne, Argentinian Sergio Aguero, German Leroy Sane and others, but he isn’t losing any sleep over where he slots in.
“I never thought about this. I am very confident about myself.”


Ons Jabeur left frustrated as Elina Svitolina goes for Dubai hat-trick

Updated 21 min 4 sec ago
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Ons Jabeur left frustrated as Elina Svitolina goes for Dubai hat-trick

  • Tunisian forced to retired after fall in first set.
  • Defending champion Svitolina focused on winning unprecedented three Dubai titles in a row.

LONDON: Ons Jabeur admitted she was annoyed after a shoulder injury forced her to call it quits against Elina Svitolina in Dubai.
The Tunisian was down 7-6, 4-0 in the second round match with the two-time defending champion when she retired — she fell towards the end of the first set and required a lengthy medical break. But having looked more than a match for Svitolina until that point what hurt more than her shoulder was the realisation that her chance of going deep in her favorite tournament was over.
“I’m still a little angry about it as I felt I was playing really good and I was playing good shots during the game,” Jabeur said.
“I was playing my best tennis and I was handling the first set pretty good but then it is frustrating to have this kind of injury.”
The 24-year-old’s pain and frustration were easy to understand. For the first set she went toe-to-toe with the world No. 6 and looked every bit her equal. Jabeur went 4-1 up and had a 6-5 lead when she fell. Having been seen by a doctor she lost the tie-break and from then on it was downhill.
It was a sad end to a tournament in which she revealed she wanted to become the “Naomi Osaka of Africa,” a reference to the trailblazing Japanese world No. 1 who became the first Asian to reach the summit of the rankings.
For Svitolina the win was welcome as she admitted she was far from her best, having been pushed all the way before Jabeur’s injury. The Ukrainian is seeking to become the first woman to win three Dubai titles on the trot, and said: “(Achieving the hat-trick) is definitely a big motivation for me.
“When I was 0-2 down, I told myself, ‘C’mon, you are here to make history of the tournament.’
“I didn’t really feel like in a match mood. I don’t know why. Was a bit struggling. In the end, we could say I had a very slow start. Hopefully, yeah, (next round) will be better.”


The year-old now faces Garbine Muguruza, the Spaniard having beaten Saisai Zheng 7-5, 6-2. While she is only too aware that beating the world No. 19 will be no easy task Svitolina is confident she can improve on her showing against Jabeur and create some momentum heading into the business end of the week.
“For me, I just want to have the mentality of not thinking so much who is in the other side of the net,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’m here to win matches, try to improve my game each match.
“It’s not going to be easy. It’s not easy to defend the title, to step on court just in these conditions.
“With the wind, the ball is flying a little bit. I just want to focus on myself.”
Having set her sights on sharpening her game and on an historic third title, 
Svitolina took to Twitter to praise Jabeur and wish her well in he recovery, saying: “You are a great player and I wish you health and quick recovery!”
Earlier she said: “I played against her in juniors, so obviously I know she’s a good player. She can deliver a good match.”