Men's Team

City’s Ballon d’Or nominees: #4 Riyad Mahrez

City’s Ballon d’Or nominees: #4 Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez is one of six Manchester City players nominated for the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards.

The Algerian joins Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling on the 30-player shortlist in the men’s category, whilst Ellen White is among the 20 players in contention for the women’s prize.

The highly coveted individual awards recognise the best players in the world over the last 12-months and will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on Monday 29 November.

Mahrez has been a key figure for City in 2021 and, here, we look back at the form which has earned him a nomination.

2021 HIGHLIGHTS

Mahrez has proved himself to be the man for the big occasion this year.

Pep Guardiola said as much after his man of the match display against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of last season’s Champions League semi-final.

“He played really well and in the big stages he handles it really well,” declared the City boss after the winger’s 71st minute free-kick secured a famous victory.

WATCH: The best of Riyad Mahrez

Mahrez was Guardiola’s go-to man at the business end of the 2020-21 campaign and the 30-year-old rose to the challenge, proving time and time again that he could be relied upon when it mattered most.

It was a gruelling season, but City’s No.26 relished the three-games-a-week schedule and was in inspired form from February onwards.

That prolific period began with a superb strike against Everton, as he beat Jordan Pickford with a sumptuous curling effort from the edge of the area, which formed part of a six-game spell in which he was directly involved in six goals.

The tricky winger provided assists against Arsenal and West Ham and was on target himself in the victories over Wolves and Southampton.

“The last games were outstanding. He played really well. He has a special quality,” said Guardiola at the time, and it was shown in abundance during City’s march to a first Champions League final.

WATCH: Riyad Mahrez’s dream five-a-side team

Mahrez’s influence in our European campaign cannot be overstated.

He showed nerves of steel to net a crucial penalty in our 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of our quarter-final contest and, amongst exalted company, he was the player of the tie as we beat PSG in the last four.

In Paris, the Algerian international capped a superb all-round display with a brilliant 20-yard free-kick to win the game and, back at the Etihad, he did what all great players do and delivered on the big stage, scoring both goals on a landmark night for the Club.

The 14 goals he scored in 2020-21 was the best return of his City career to date, and he has returned from the summer break in equally fine form, scoring eight times in nine starts so for this season.

A mesmerising talent, Mahrez has been unplayable at times and the fantastic year he has enjoyed in the sky blue shirt has further cemented his status as a match-winner of the highest order.

2021 IN NUMBERS – ALL COMPETITIONS

Matches played: 45

Minutes played: 3004

Goals: 17

Assists: 10

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