Leicester star: It was so cold I faked injury

Riyad Mahrez has admitted that during his trial in Scotland, he found it so cold that he was forced to fake an injury so he could go back to the dressing room.

The PFA Player of the Year was speaking to L’Equipe in France when he said “That [failed trial in Scotland] was before Quimper. An agent, Jean Evina, told me that he had a trial for me in the first division in Scotland with the St Mirren reserves. He paid for my ticket and I went with another guy from Sarcelles, Dany Bekale. It went well. I played four friendlies with the reserves and I scored seven goals.

“I killed them. They made me wait. Two and a half months. I couldn’t take it anymore. It drove me crazy, Scotland. It was cold. It was too much. It snowed and everything… I was so cold that one day I faked an injury so that I could go back to the dressing room.

“A few days later, my agent said to me: “I think that Jake Duncan, an English agent who works with us, wants to swindle me. Riyad, I have got you a ticket, you take the bus immediately, you go to Glasgow station and you get on the train for the airport and you take a flight to Paris.

“I did not speak any English at all. I forgot my boots at the training centre. I borrowed a bike from a guy at the hotel, I took my football boots, I packed my bag and I left without telling anyone. Even the woman at the hotel. I took the stairs to avoid the reception.”

Mahrez played for Quimper, a French team that plays in CFA2, Group H (Championnat de France Amateur), from 2009-2010, a year that would see him catch the eye of scouts from Le Harve.

Spending four years with the club, Mahrez signed for Leicester on a three-and-a-half-year contract for a reported fee of £400,000.

A new four-year-deal followed in the summer of last year when his impressive campaign saw him linked with a host of bigger clubs. Opting to stay with the Foxes, Mahrez looks set to be compensated handsomely with not only a personal award but a Premier League winners’ medal as well.

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Lee Hurley

Writer specialising in good football and bad relationships. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.