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Leicester's Mahrez wins African Player of the Year award

Riyad Mahrez at a press conference. Reuters/Carl Recine

Algerian international Riyad Mahrez' dynamic performances in Leicester's remarkable Premier League title win last season garned him the prestigious BBC African player of the year award on Monday.

The 25-year-old France-born forward beat fellow nominees Yaya Toure, Sadio Mane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andre Ayew.

Mahrez, earlier this year, became the first African to win the Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year award on the back of his 17 goals and 11 assists for Leicester.

The winner was chosen by fans from across the world.

"It means a lot, it's something big for African players so I am very happy and very proud," he told the BBC. "It's always good to receive awards and for Africans this is a huge honour."

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was in the audience and expressed his delight.
"He is improving every day," the Italian told the BBC. "I don't speak about his quality. I speak about his sacrifice, he has fought for the team because it is very important for us to be together."

Mahrez, who cost the Foxes just 500 000 euros when they bought him from French outfit Le Havre in 2014, joins legends such as Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba and Liberian George Weah who have won the award.

Mahrez also came seven in the Ballon d'Or best player in the world award yesterday, with Cristiano Ronaldo winning his fourth award.