Riyad Mahrez says the tragic death of his dad was the ‘trigger point’ which drove him on to pursue a career as a professional footballer.

Father Ahmed passed away from a heart attack when Mahrez was just 15-years-old.

Already eager to make it in the game, Mahrez believes the loss of his beloved parent made him want to make it in the game even more.

And in a new City Studios documentary released today on CITY+ and Recast entitled The Riyad Mahrez Story, he revealed: “My dad played at an amateur level but he was a great player.

“When I was younger I saw him play and he was a very good player.

“When we played together in my backyard or when he was training me, I saw that he had a lot of qualities and I had similar qualities.


“He always pushed me. He was also tough concerning school too. When it was not going great at school, like most of the times, he tried to punish me by not going to play football. He was tough.

“Until he passed away. I was 15. Just before he passed away, he couldn’t come watch the games anymore. He couldn’t come to the games and it hurt me a bit.

“When he died, I had this trigger point and told myself that I had to make it for him.”

Mahrez admits that making a career as a professional footballer wasn’t just about fulfilling his own lifelong ambition.

It was also about helping his now-widowed mother Halima.

He added: “When he passed away, no one was there to help my mother anymore.

“We won’t lie. We were living in affordable housing, it was hard.

“Of course, there is worse than us. It was my just my brother and I - and I knew I had football and that I could make something out of it.

“I was really convinced. So I went for it.”