Football

Former Algeria Coach Reveals The Extreme Criticism He Took For Selecting Riyad Mahrez

Former Algeria Coach Reveals The Extreme Criticism He Took For Selecting Riyad Mahrez

Ahead of what is likely to be a crucial game in the Premier League title race, Arsene Wenger asserted that Riyad Mahrez could go down as one of the 'greatest signings in history'.

Table toppers Leicester travel to the Emirates today to take on Arsenal.

Mahrez has been one of their stars this season, so far notching up 14 goals along with 10 assists.

The 24-year-old has come a long way in two years. He arrived at Leicester in January of 2014 while they were still a Championship club.

Months later, Mahrez would make his international debut for Algeria. He would also travel to Brazil that summer as part of the Algerian World Cup squad.

Speaking to Goal.com, the then coach of Algeria, Vahid Halilhodzic, detailed the criticism which he received for selecting the forward.

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It included being accused of taking a bribe for selecting the player.

I first heard Riyad's name when ex-coach Christophe Delmotte told me there was an interesting Algerian lad at Le Havre. He didn't play much there but he caught my attention. You could see he was one hell of a technician — he controls the ball brilliantly.

He moved to Leicester soon after and started playing off the bench. I saw quality. He was technically superior and a sophisticated dribbler, but he had no power. Still, I saw his potential and invited him to the World Cup. I cannot describe what I experience from the Algerian media after that. There was no common sense in their criticism – some even claimed I took money from Riyad to take him to the World Cup.

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PJ Browne
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