Riyad Mahrez Leaves Manchester City for Al Ahli
After a remarkable season, securing the treble with Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez has opted for a change of scenery by joining Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia for a transfer fee of 35 million euros. In an interview with the esteemed newspaper L’Équipe, the Algerian international shed light on his departure from Manchester, revealing that both Txiki Begiristain and Pep Guardiola advocated for his stay. However, Mahrez ultimately decided to leave due to his limited involvement in the Champions League triumph.
A Personal Decision
“Although I had two years remaining on my contract with Manchester City and could have stayed, the choice to leave was mine. I felt that this opportunity in Saudi Arabia may not come again. Perhaps it was the right time to move on, considering I had spent five years at City and won everything. Nevertheless, I must admit that I still feel there was unfinished business during my time at the club,” Mahrez confessed.
A Sense of Unfulfillment
Mahrez expressed his disappointment at the lack of playing time in the crucial stages of the Champions League. “I didn’t feature in the semi-finals or the final. In previous seasons, I was always a starter in the Champions League and made a significant impact for my team. This past year, it wasn’t necessarily bad, but I can’t shake off the feeling of unfinished business,” he explained. The allure of moving to Saudi Arabia, a Muslim country where he could ensure his family’s safety, played a role in his decision.
Guardiola and Begiristain’s Desire for Continuity
Mahrez revealed that both Pep Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain expressed their desire for him to stay at Manchester City. “Txiki Begiristain, the technical director, and Pep Guardiola made it clear that they wanted me to remain at the club. I carefully weighed the pros and cons, and in the end, I chose to leave. I have no regrets, and I am content with my decision,” he stated.
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