Riyad Mahrez has been named the Player of the Year at the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Awards on Sunday (24 April) at London's Grosvenor House. The 25-year-old Leicester City star has enjoyed a stunning campaign for the Foxes, helping them to establish an improbable eight-point lead over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
The sought-after Algerian, who joined the club in 2014 from Le Havre, has scored 17 goals and provided 11 assists for Claudio Ranieri's table-topping team. Mahrez won the award ahead of teammate Jamie Vardy and Spurs' Harry Kane, who came in second and third places respectively.
"It's a pleasure to achieve this award," Mahrez reflected. "I want to thank my team mates because without them I wouldn't achieve this. We are like brothers, it's everywhere on the pitch. That's our strength.
"If sometimes we are not good, we know we are going to run and make effort for our team-mates. That is the secret of our success."
Vardy was, however, handed a special award on the night after scoring in 11 successive games earlier this season. "It's like a fairground ride and we are just enjoying ourselves and we will keep enjoying ourselves for the last few games," Vardy said of the Foxes title hopes after their 4-0 win over Swansea City earlier in the day.
"There are no nerves at all. The press were saying for some reason that Leicester were a one-man team. It's completely the opposite. We are a complete team and we will fight for each other all the way."
Meanwhile, Manchester City and England striker Isobel Christiansenwas was named the Women's Player of the Year for her stunning campaign, which included her senior international debut and her first goal in an 8-0 win against Estonia.
Elsewhere on the star-studded night in London, Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli was crowned Young Player of the Year. The 20-year-old has been an instrumental part of Spurs' title push and has also earned international recognition this season. Meanwhile, Sunderland's Beth Mead won the corresponding award for the women, in recognition of her goal-scoring exploits for the Mackems.
Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs was handed a PFA Merit Award after his record-breaking career at the top of English football. "I'm chuffed," Giggs explained. "The Young Player of the Year was obviously a long time ago and I was fortunate to win the PFA Player of the Year.
"This is obviously a culmination of the 25 years since my debut. It's a credit to myself, my family, my team-mates, the staff. It's a celebration I will try to enjoy."