Thursday 22 August 2019

'He was like a dad. He was very special' – Man City match-winner Riyad Mahrez pays tribute to Leicester City chairman

Riyad Mahrez points to the sky after scoring against Spurs last night. Photo: Tom Flathers/Man City via Getty Images
Riyad Mahrez points to the sky after scoring against Spurs last night. Photo: Tom Flathers/Man City via Getty Images

Sam Dean

Riyad Mahrez said Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was “like a dad” to him after celebrating his winner against Tottenham Hotspur by pointing to the sky in tribute to the Leicester City owner.

Mahrez was a key member of the Leicester side that won the league under Srivaddhanaprabha’s watch in 2016, and the Manchester City forward said he was “heartbroken” and struggled to sleep after learning of the owner’s death this weekend.

“It has been very, very difficult for me,” said Mahrez, whose first-half strike proved to be the winner as City moved back to the top of the Premier League table.

“The boss was very special for me. I spent four-and-a-half years there and have many memories with him. He was such a good person.”

Mahrez said he always wanted to play against Spurs, adding that it is what Srivaddhanaprabha would have wanted.

“I am very, very sad. That is why when I scored I put my hands in the sky for him. He did a lot for me and Leicester and it is difficult to speak about.

“He was like a dad. He was very special. He was such a good person, a big heart and it was heartbreaking and shocking to hear this news and for all the other people who died with him.

“It is a difficult situation. I am with Leicester and the family of the victims. I always wanted to play. I know he would have wanted me to play. He was passionate about football. It was difficult [to play] but I kept thinking about him. It was difficult to sleep as well.”

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, added: “Riyad was part of Leicester for many, many years. It was tough but I did not speak with him in terms of how he felt to play today because I know how competitive he is and how he likes to play in big events, big stages. Sometimes playing games helps.”

Irish Independent

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