Like every footballer in the world, Riyad Mahrez wants to play with Lionel Messi.
The mercurial Leicester forward has starred for the Foxes in their rise to the summit of the Premier League and admitted he wants to team up with the world’s best player one day.
Whether or not Mahrez ever fulfils his wish remains to be seen. The 24-year-old has been outstanding for Claudio Ranieri’s side and Leicester will try to do everything they can to keep him.
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The other option is Messi joining Mahrez at Leicester. Highly unlikely, yes, but Leicester have proved that anything is possible.
Mahrez has shown flashes of Messi’s brilliance this campaign, not least by the way he skipped past Martin Demichelis and smashed a shot past Joe Hart in Leicester’s remarkable 3-1 win at Manchester City last Saturday.
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It was his 15th goal of the season as the winger helped Leicester maintain their five-point lead over Tottenham and Arsenal.
Speaking to Goal, Mahrez said: “It’s not my goal or my dream but obviously everyone wants to play with Messi. One day, maybe. Why not?”
Mahrez, who signed for Leicester from French Ligue 2 side Le Havre in 2014, was asked to name the four players he enjoyed watching as a youngster.
He replied: “I didn’t have a hero but there were some players I liked watching. Players like Zinedine Zidane, Didier Drogba, Messi, the Brazilian Ronaldo.”
It’s not a surprise Mahrez enjoyed watching the aforementioned players. Like him, all played with flair and you can see traces of all four in the Leicester man.
Messi’s dribbling; Ronaldo’s pace; Zidane’s trickery; and Drogba’s goalscoring habit. Mahrez has such a wide skillset and has been a joy to watch, as have his team-mates.
The Foxes face another title showdown this weekend with a trip to the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners handed Leicester their first loss of the season back in September when an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick helped Arsenal to a 5-2 win, but Leicester have lost just one league game since.
Their fearless playstyle - organised by the charismatic Ranieri - has helped endear Leicester to the whole country (and even Europe) as they seek to disrupt the Premier League’s top four dominance.
It’s been 21 years since a team not named Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea lifted the Premier League and many expected that run to continue for the foreseeable future due to the wealth of those clubs.
But Leicester, who flirted with relegation right until the death last season, can break the chain.
They are favourites to win the title and have just 13 games left, while their close competitors still have Europe and the FA Cup to contend with.