This Wednesday evening at the Parc des Princes Riyad Mahrez will make, for the first time since his departure for England in 2014, his return to a field in Ile-de-France.
A singular meeting, obviously, for the Citizens striker, born in Sarcelles 30 years ago.
But after winning the English League Cup this weekend against Tottenham, the Algerian international does not intend to stop there and hopes to put an option on the Champions League final in the first leg.
Mauricio Pochettino has said of Pep Guardiola he is the best coach in the world.
What do you think ?
He has done a lot for football and the club.
He deserves this praise.
It's great to listen to what people are saying.
How does he behave with us?
Like a normal guy.
He tries to help us prepare the matches as best as possible, from a tactical point of view, gives us as much information as possible about our opponents.
With him, when we arrive on the ground, we are ready.
How did you deal with the elimination in the Champions League quarter-finals last season?
This elimination was probably the biggest disappointment of my career.
Not arriving in the half, losing against Lyon and stopping there, it was hard.
This year, we have a lot of determination.
Be careful, that doesn't mean we didn't have one last season.
On the contrary.
But here, I have the impression that we are in a better position.
Would winning the Champions League move City into the backyard of the very big clubs?
That is not for me to say.
But, it is the competition, the trophy that we miss.
I don't even know if one of my teammates has already won it… I don't think so.
The Champions League is the best, the highest level in Europe.
But above all, you have to get to the final.
You have to manage the two semi-finals well and qualify before thinking about winning the competition.
We talk a lot about Neymar and Mbappé to evoke the offensive power of PSG.
But Manchester City also has a lot of arguments ...
I have already said it.
There are teams that rely on stars like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Manchester is not, but the level of our team is unbelievable nonetheless.
You've been in City for three years.
Are you currently playing at your best?
I don't know if I'm in the best shape of my career, but I'm actually feeling great right now.
We will have to play a very big game to pass.
Do you plan to stay in City for a long time?
I don't think about that.
One thing is certain, I feel comfortable here.
I love the city, I love the club.
But I focus on the pitch and on the games.
Riyad Mahrez, Sunday, in the League Cup final against Tottenham.
AFP / Carl Recine
Does this semi-final inspire you?
Yes, since I was a kid this is the kind of game I dream of playing.
Playing in the quarterfinals, in the Champions League semi-finals, is the dream of all players.
But the goal is to pass them.
For that, we have to maintain our level.
After the disappointment of last year, is this meeting becoming the most important of your career?
Yes, it's so difficult to get to the semi-finals.
But that's not an end in itself, now we have to show that we deserve the final.
Pochettino had eliminated Guardiola and Manchester City in the quarter-finals in 2019. Is this semi-final also a rematch?
No not at all, there is no revenge to be taken in these matches.
It's a bit like Sunday's final
(Editor's note: in the English League Cup)
, we have to think about playing well, without thinking about what has happened in the past.
You are now a regular member of this team.
How did you impose yourself?
It's simple, the more you play, the sharper you are and the more you have more confidence in yourself.
Confidence makes it all easier.
When you have self-confidence, it's easier to string together high-level performances.
You who have already been champion of England with Leicester.
Did you especially join City for this kind of moments in the Champions League?
Yes, we play for these matches, these major Champions League meetings.
I knew when I signed for Manchester that we were able to participate in those matches.
But, I repeat, we are not satisfied with that.
We must deserve the final.
But for that, we will have to play with character.
Manchester, which has never reached the Champions League final, is it under pressure?
We have always been certain of our game. In previous years, it did not work.
This year, we are much better because we arrive in great shape in this last part of the season.
We are going to play our game with a lot of personality, character.
We're not here to play a half, but to win, that's the most important thing.
This match in Paris, for you who were born, in Sarcelles, does it have a particular character?
I never imagined, when I was a kid, that I could experience this kind of thing.
Coming back to play a Champions League semi-final in Paris against the club in my city, in my region, where I grew up, is necessarily a special moment for me.
Seen from England, has PSG changed dimension since eliminating Bayern Munich?
I don't know, I'm not here to judge who is the favorite.
Of course, PSG have a superb team.
For the rest, we'll see tomorrow, they have their strengths, we have ours.
We will see who will emerge victorious.