A native of Sarcelles, the Algerian international winger brought Paris to heel in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The curse continues. After Kingsley Coman last year, it is the turn of another native of Ile-de-France to crucify PSG in the Champions League, Riyad Mahrez. All without forgetting the many ex-Parisians to score regularly against the Rouge et Bleu … Unlike the tricolor international FC Bayern, author of the only goal in the final in Lisbon in 2020, the Algerian international has never worn the Parisian colors. In fact, he never even evolved in Ligue 1, he who had long had to drag his gaiters in the lower divisions, in Quimper and Le Havre, before crossing the Channel. But it is indeed in Sarcelles that it was born about thirty years ago. “Paris is my city. I was born there and I grew up there ”, he explained last year, on Canal +, also opening the door to a possible transfer to PSG. “I’m good at Manchester City, but you never know,” he said, recalling, however, that he grew up as a “supporter of Marseille”.
” READ ALSO – Leonardo and the glass half full: “I am optimistic for the future”
” READ ALSO – “Fuck off”, “fuck you”: the Parisians accuse the referee of having insulted them
From OM fan to PSG executioner, there is only one step. That crossed by Mahrez, author of a double Tuesday, during the victory of City (2-0). On the first leg, he was already the one who scored the winning goal, a happy free kick that pierced the wall. Three goals in two matches? Look no further for the “MVP” of the double-confrontation. “We deserve to spend on the two matches, to go to the final, he jubilates on RMC Sport. We knew how to be efficient when needed. In the first half, we were average. In second, we were able to raise our level and we could have scored three or four goals. Afterwards, they lost their nerves a bit, took a red and that made it easier for us during the last 20 minutes. ”
“He’s a great talent, he is always present in big matches”
It made life so much easier for the Skyblues that Paris seemed closer to finishing nine and conceding a third goal than scoring one. Admittedly, the match could have turned out differently with a little more success on the Parisian side, or if Kylian Mbappé had not had to withdraw. But City have seen their fair share of disappointments and hardships in recent years on the European scene. It is the turn of the players of Pep Guardiola and Mahrez, holder while a boy like Raheem Sterling started on the bench. “He’s a great talent, he always responds to the big matches, greets Pep Guardiola, conquered. He’s a fantastic player. The players are judged on the big matches and he loves it… The first goal was magnificent, a strike from the right. The second is very beautiful too. He scores three of four goals in the two matches, congratulations to him. ” Mahrez, 12 goals and 7 assists in 44 matches in 2020-21. Strong.
” READ ALSO – PSG: a dream end that is not an “industrial accident”
” READ ALSO – Tops / Flops Man. City-PSG: Mahrez at ease, Paris like beginners
What to give regret to the (many) French recruiters who let it slip away in the English way. It was in Leicester City that he took off, in 2014, contributing to the improbable coronation of the Foxes in the Premier League five years ago, alongside the tricolor world champion Ngolo Kanté or the English goal machine. Jamie Vardy, under the orders of Claudio Ranieri. The first in the history of the club. Mahrez was also a driving force behind Algeria’s success at CAN 2019, the first since 1990. And here he is donning the hero’s costume while City – whom he joined in 2018 for nearly € 70m – climbed to the final of the “Champions’”, on May 29 at the Atatürk stadium in Istanbul, for the first time.
“To score in the big matches, the big moments, that’s what you want when you are a footballer, what you dream of when you are young”
Confusing, destabilizing, unpredictable with the ball at his feet, the Fennec is, at 30, at the top of his game. “I do not know if this is my best season, he blows. To score in the big matches, the big moments, is what we want when we are a footballer, what we dream of when we are young. I scored three goals in the two matches, which is good for the team. We were very solid in both matches, we were able to be efficient and once again, we deserve to pass. ” That is certain. Already winners of the English League Cup, Mahrez and the Citizens also deserve the title of champion of England which extends its arms to them and which will perhaps be formalized on Saturday, during the 35th day, in the event of victory against Chelsea (the standings here). A match that will also be, perhaps, a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final. The Blues will have to rule out Real Madrid this Wednesday (9 p.m.), in the semi-final second leg, at Stamford Bridge.