Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian and Leicester City forward, has earned the BBC African Player of the year award.
Mahrez’ part in Leicester’s remarkable last season which earned them their first-ever Premier League title helped to make him this year’s favourite for the prestigious award.
Riyad Mahrez is French-born to an Algerian father and mother of Moroccan/Algerian descent.
Earlier this year, he became the first African to win the Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year award, edging out Yaya Toure, Sadio Mane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andre Ayew.
During the previous premier league season, the French-born forward scored 17 goals and 11 assists for Leicester City.
The BBC African player of the year award was chosen by fans from across the world.
“It means a lot, it’s something big for African players so I am very happy and very proud,” he told the BBC.
“It’s always good to receive awards and for Africans, this is a huge honour.”
“Also I want to thank the Algeria fans and dedicate this to them as well and for my family, I just have to carry on and keep going with my football and see what I can do.”
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was in the audience and expressed his delight. “He is improving every day,” the Italian told the BBC.
“I don’t speak about his quality. I speak about his sacrifice, he has fought for the team because it is very important for us to be together.”
Mahrez has also been nominated for the 2017 GLO-CAF African footballer of the year award. Fellow nominees include fellow Algerian/Leicester team-mate Islam Slimani, current African Footballer of the Year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Borussia Dortmund, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Liverpool, and Egypt’s Mohammed Salah who left English side, Chelsea to Italian A.S Roma on loan.
He, as well as the other nominees, made the cut from a 30-man list originally published by the CAF. The award will be presented at the 2017 GLO-CAF gala set to take place in Abuja, Nigeria on 5th January.