Very recent champion of England and winner of the League Cup with Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez is living an extraordinary season.
Which could even end in total apotheosis if he manages to snatch the first Champions League in the history of the Mancunian club, in the final on May 29 against Chelsea.
Executioner of Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final - with three goals scored in the double confrontation -, the child of Sarcelles (Val-d'Oise) will play the most important match of his professional career, which began there nearly ten years in Le Havre.
"We are not going to lie to each other, this is the big meeting of my career, without wanting to put any particular pressure on me," the 30-year-old Algerian winger admitted this Sunday to RMC Sport.
A Champions League final is the biggest event in any player's career.
It is the dream of all footballers.
"They did not take the psychological advantage over us because they won our last two matches"
A dream that he will try to achieve against the current fourth in the Premier League, who has become unstoppable since Thomas Tuchel took control of his destiny. “Chelsea are a great team, it's not going to be an easy game. They did not gain the psychological advantage over us because they won the last two matches (1-0 defeat in the semi-final of the Cup on April 17, then 1-2 in the Championship on May 8, editor's note) . It remains a final. It will be played on details, I do not see a final with 4 or 5-0, someone who surpasses the other. It will be a hotly contested final, a tactical match, and it will be up to us to make the difference. It would be wonderful. "
🗣️ "No Chelsea don't have the psychological advantage over us! All games are different. A Champions League final is not the same."
Mahrez believes that the two previous games lost to Chelsea will not affect the C1 final.
- RMC Sport (@RMCsport) May 16, 2021
Wink of fate, Mahrez will face in the final an old acquaintance: the French international N'Golo Kanté, with whom he formed an infernal trio during the improbable coronation of Leicester in 2016, which made him explode in the eyes of the football planet.
If he confesses to never having tried to bring him to City, the Valdoisien now indisputable holder under Pep Guardiola admits "that it is better to have him in his camp".
“He's a great player, a friend too, so it's bound to be a special game.
And we will have time to warm up a bit on the phone!
A final for his deceased father
After having fun at this reunion planned in Porto, place of the final, Riyad Mahrez also confided that he wanted to win the most prestigious of European competitions for Ahmed, his father who died when he was only 15 years old. “Since the death of my father in 2006, it has been a source of motivation for everything I wanted to do in my life, to go and find things for him. It's a shame he's not here to see everything that's going on for me now, but I think he sees me from up there. "
And even if he wins the Champions League, "the only trophy he [he] lacks with the World Cup, but hey, for that one we are not going to dream too much (laughs)", Riyad Mahez does not appear. not wanting to deviate from the citizen project, which finally seems to be bearing fruit after years of colossal investments. The former Le Havre, who will have two years of contract left, has ruled out the idea of ending his career at OM ("It's not something that I am considering"), and ensures that he feels good at City . “I don't want to go elsewhere. I don't know yet what my situation will be after (the C1 final), if I will resign or not. But I'm very happy at City and that's where I want to be. "