Riyad Mahrez claims PFA Player of the Year award

Leicester City winger scoops prestigious accolade thanks to an outstanding Premier League campaign during 2015/16.

Riyad Mahrez claims PFA Player of the Year award
Mahrez stands proudly with the PFA Player of the Year award | Photo: PA

After scoring Leicester City's opener in the Foxes' 4-0 victory over Swansea City on Sunday afternoon, Riyad Mahrez's evening got even better as he was named the PFA Player of the Year.

Quickly travelling down to the glittering awards ceremony after the East-Midlanders' latest win at the King Power Stadium, the mercurial winger joined an esteemed list, that includes the likes of Eric Cantona, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, of players to have claimed the trophy.

Breakthrough campaign

Having been voted for by his fellow professionals in the past few weeks, this personal accolade will be seen as just reward for Mahrez for a truly outstanding season in the Premier League. With him managing  to rack up 17 goals and 11 assists so far this campaign, the former Le Havre man has taken the top-flight by storm this season despite a troubling first campaign in 2014/15 (in which he only netted a total four times).

As a matter of fact, the mercurial Algerian has been a shining light in Leicester City's campaign and would it not be for his huge contribution, Claudio Ranieri's men would possibly not currently be sitting eight points clear at the top.

Also, with the Foxes' star-man having managed to eclipse last season's PFA Player of the Year, Eden Hazard's total of 14 goals and 12 assists, his fantastic form this season is highlighted even further.

Quality of a Champion

Since signing for the Foxes under ex-boss, Nigel Pearson, for a reported £400,000 in January 2012, the Paris-born wide-man has always showed glimpses of his quality and flair. Assisting the East Midlanders in their promotion to the Premier League and also playing a huge role in their escape from relegation last season, the wiry winger has lit up the King Power Stadium on numerous occasions in the past.

Mahrez has been key in Leicester City's unlikely title challenge | Photo: Getty
Mahrez has been key in Leicester City's unlikely title challenge | Photo: Getty

Nonetheless, most of the 25-year-old's highlights have to come from the current campaign. Whether or not Ranieri's men go on to lift the title, supporters will still have fond memories - particularly of Mahrez. Specifically, fans can point to his first-ever career hat-trick against Swansea City in December or even his man-of-match performance in the team's 3-1 destruction of Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in February as high-points.

"I'm feeling good"

Talking to thepfa.com after becoming the first-ever Leicester City player to receive the award, Mahrez was obviously honored and humbled but decided to dedicate the award to his team-mates. Saying "without my team-mates, I wouldn't get this award", the spirit and close bond in the Foxes' dressing room was easy to see even then.

Continuing by saying that it was a "pleasure" and an "honour" to be named the PFA Player of the Year, the talented winger also remained as grounded as ever despite picking up such a prestigious award.