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Mahrez: I didn't eat so I could play football

The 25-year-old has opened up about the extraordinary lengths he has gone to in order to carve out a career in football.

Mahrez is the bookies' favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
Mahrez is the bookies' favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award.

LEICESTER STAR RIYAD Mahrez has revealed he used to regularly avoid eating as a child because he only ever wanted to use his time to play football.

The 25-year-old is emblematic of the Foxes’ remarkable rise from relegation favourites to title chasers this season, having helped inspire his side’s push for their first ever league crown after only signing for them in 2014 as an unknown quantity for as little as £400,000.

Mahrez joined Leicester from Le Havre and has since scored 16 goals and registered 11 assists in the current campaign to emerge as the frontrunner to win the PFA Player of the Year prize.

Leaders Leicester are just a few wins away from getting their hands on the Premier League and speaking ahead of their clash against West Ham, Mahrez has opened up about the extraordinary lengths he has gone to in order to make a living playing football.

Mahrez says he was only ever spotted with a ball as a skinny teenager growing up in a rough French suburb, skipping dinner to put all of his efforts into achieving his dream of becoming a footballer.

“I was a street footballer,” Mahrez told Sky Sports.

“Every day I was on the street dribbling, doing skills. I wasn’t in an academy till I was 19.

“The picture of me as a child is that I was always with a ball – that’s why I was so skinny, I would miss dinner. Mum would have to leave me some food in the microwave.”

Mahrez is up for the Player of the Year gong alongside Leicester team-mates Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Dimitri Payet of West Ham.

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