Riyad Mahrez was named African Footballer of the Year. Fans from across the world voted for the Algeria and Leicester midfielder ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure. Mahrez to 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.”

The award caps an exceptional year for Mahrez  who had already won the English Premier League title and was voted Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year, an impressive stint in his 12 months at Leicester. The Algerian scored 17 league goals and chipped in with 11 assists. His achievements have also been recognized 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 has also been in good form for Claudio Ranieri’s team in the Champions League and played a pivotal role in Algeria’s qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations next year. Ranieiri (Leicester manager) was in attendance as Mahrez received his award and paid tribute to the winger. He continued;

“I want to see him continue as a fantastic player. It’s very important for us, for the team. He is improving every day. I don’t speak about his quality. I speak about his sacrifice, he has fought for the team because it’s very important for us to be together,” he concluded.

From playing street football as a youngster to shining among the stars in the world football arena, the Algerian is certainly on his way to even greater achievements.