Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has praised the impact of Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez during their remarkable Premier League title-winning campaign in the 2015/16 season. Speaking as part of a new City Studios documentary, The Riyad Mahrez Story, Ranieri credited the Algerian for his crucial role in their unlikely success.
Mahrez scored 17 goals and provided 11 assists as the Foxes clinched their first-ever top-flight title, finishing 10 points clear of second-placed Arsenal. His performances also earned him the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, becoming the first African to win the accolade.
In the documentary, Ranieri spoke highly of Mahrez's ability to create chances in the final third of the pitch. "I talked to him and said in the last 30 metres, you can do what you want. I said 'you are a fantasy player'. You can invent everything. At the right moment - show your style!" said the Italian coach.
Mahrez, who is now 32 years old, also praised Ranieri's man-management skills and the confidence he gave him. "He came to see me and gave me a lot of responsibilities. He gave me the keys of the game," said Mahrez. "And all this, it's like it gave me wings. And from that point onward, I just found my confidence."
The Algerian international scored a total of 48 goals and provided 38 assists in 179 appearances for Leicester City before moving to Manchester City in 2018. He has since won four Premier League titles, three EFL Cups, and the FA Cup with the Blues.