Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez was named English soccer’s player of the year by the Professional Footballers’ Association on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Algerian international, the first Leicester player and first African to win the award, has scored 17 goals and made 11 assists in 34 league games to help Leicester move to the brink of their first English top-flight title.
Mahrez finished ahead of fellow Leicester players Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and West Ham United’s Dimitri Payet.
The Algerian praised the contribution of his team mates and manager Claudio Ranieri after being voted the best player in England by his fellow professionals.
“All the credit is for them, seriously,” Mahrez, who joined Leicester from French second-tier side Le Havre in January 2014, said.
“And for my manager and the staff. Without them I wouldn’t receive this award and I wouldn’t score. It’s the team spirit, and I want to dedicate it to them.
“It’s extra special because if the players vote for me it’s because they’ve seen I’ve been great this year so I’m happy.
“Without my team mates I wouldn’t get this award.”
Mahrez also spoke of his pride at being the first African player to receive the award won last year by Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard.
“It’s an honour to be the first African — not the best but the first,” Mahrez added.
Spurs midfielder Dele Alli, 20, was named PFA Young Player of the Year, with his team still chasing the leaders in a bid to win their first league title since 1961.