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Africa Sports News of Friday, 26 March 2021

Source: goal.com

Mahrez reveals secret behind his no. 26 shirt at Manchester City and Leicester City

Manchester City winger, Riyad Mahrez Manchester City winger, Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez has shared the story behind his decision to go for the No. 26 shirt at both Manchester City and Leicester City.

In January 2014, Mahrez moved from France to the Championship to boost the Foxes' promotion push to the Premier League but he had just two numbers available – 28 and 26, and he eventually chose the latter.

The 30-year-old decided to stick to the number following his switch to Manchester City four years later because of the success he enjoyed with Leicester City which included their first ever Premier League triumph in the 2015-16 season.

“The story behind the 26. When I arrived at Leicester, there was only two numbers left, 28 and 26," Mahrez told City TV. "So I said, 'Alright, I'll take 26' and it's given me a lot of good things. I won the league with Leicester, got to a Champions League quarter-final and then I liked it and kept it.

"When I arrived here, I could've taken 11 but I preferred to stick with number 26."

Mahrez, who has won two Premier League titles so far, is on course to lift his third top flight crown in England, with Manchester City comfortably sitting at the top of the table.

They hold a 14-gap point ahead of second-placed Manchester United.

When asked about his best moment this season, the 2016 African Footballer of the Year – who has contributed nine goals and four assists in the Premier League this season – said: "I don't have one moment specially, but I will just say like so far we've been very good and that's just everything about this side.”

On his pre-match ritual, Mahrez added: “I recite a bit of Quaran and I just pray, and ask God to make sure everything is okay today.”

Earlier on Thursday, Mahrez was missing in action as Algeria were held to a 3-3 draw by Zambia in their penultimate 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The Desert Foxes are already through to the tournament and they sit at the top of Group H with 11 points from five matches. They host Botswana in their final group outing on Monday.

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