Riyad Mahrez has been crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016. Fans from across the world voted for the Algeria and Leicester midfielder ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure. Winger Mahrez, 25, told BBC Sport: “It means a lot, it’s something big for African players so I am very happy, I am very proud. “It’s always good to receive awards and for African players it’s a huge honour. To all the fans, thank you very much.” He added: “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.”
In May, Mahrez became the first African to be voted the best player in the league by his fellow professionals, only two years after he had joined Leicester from Le Havre for £400,000. His achievements have also been recognised by football’s world governing body FIFA, who included him on its shortlist for Player of the Year – the only African among the 23 names. Mahrez now joins a list of greats, including Abedi Pele, George Weah, Jay-Jay Okocha and Didier Drogba, to have won the BBC African Footballer of the year award.