Riyad Mahrez swaps Manchester City for Al Ahli as Saudi Pro League spending continues

Algeria winger arrives at newly-promoted club after five hugely successful years with Pep Guardiola's side

Soccer Football - Al-Ahli unveil Riyad Mahrez - Paris, France - July 28, 2023  Al-Ahli's new signing Riyad Mahrez poses for a photograph with Al-Ahli executive director Yazin Al-Sharif Al-Ahli Club Media Office/Handout via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.  NO RESALES.  NO ARCHIVES
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Riyad Mahrez has completed his move from Manchester City to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, as the kingdom continues to attract some of football’s most prominent players.

The Algerian winger, 32, was confirmed as Ahli’s latest signing on Friday, agreeing to a contract through until 2027.

Mahrez leaves the English champions following five years at the Etihad Stadium in which he won 11 major trophies. In all, he made 236 appearances, scoring 78 goals.

Jeddah-based Ahli, back in the Saudi Pro League after winning promotion last season, confirmed the news on their social media, with the line: “The wait is over: Riyad is real.”

Although the fee has not been made public, it is understood to be worth up to £30 million ($38m). Mahrez was an integral part of the City side who captured the treble last season, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Uefa Champions League.

Speaking to City’s website in an interview released on Friday, Mahrez said: "To play for Manchester City has been an honour and privilege. I came to City to win trophies and enjoy my football and I achieved all that and so much more.

"I have had five unforgettable years with this football club, working with unbelievable players, fantastic supporters, and the best manager in the world."

City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain, said: "There are few wingers that possess his levels of skill and technique in world football, and he will be missed, but everyone will wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter in his career.”

At Ahli, Mahrez will join fellow new recruits in former Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino and former Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Allan Saint-Maximin, the Newcastle winger, is expected to soon follow.

Three-time Saudi champions, Ahli spent last season out of the top-flight for the first time in their history. They kick off the 2023/24 Saudi Pro League next month, when they host fellow promoted side Al Hazem on August 11.

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Updated: August 16, 2023, 12:10 PM