Riyad Mahrez recently delved into his departure from Manchester City, shedding light on the pivotal role played by Pep Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain in trying to convince him to stay.
Despite the hefty £30 million move to Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia, ending a five-year stint at City crowned with a Champions League triumph, Mahrez revealed lingering sentiments of unfulfilled objectives, particularly due to his absence from starting lineups in crucial matches, notably the Champions League final.
In his reflection, Mahrez articulated that the decision to depart was multifaceted. While he possessed two years left on his Manchester City contract and had the potential to remain, he sensed a unique opportunity unlikely to recur. His decision was driven by a desire to address perceived gaps, including his absence in significant games and the prospect of ensuring long-term security for his family with a substantial contract in a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia. This move also represented a fresh challenge and an entirely new project for the skilled winger.
Throughout this period of contemplation, Mahrez acknowledged the earnest efforts of Guardiola and Begiristain, both of whom expressed a profound desire for him to prolong his tenure at Etihad. Despite their persuasive pleas and a thorough consideration of the advantages and disadvantages, Mahrez ultimately chose to embark on this new chapter in his career. This decision, he emphasized, was not taken lightly but was one he currently embraces with contentment.
This departure signifies a significant shift for Mahrez, who, amidst recognition of his accomplishments at City, felt a sense of unfulfilled potential in the latter phase of his tenure. However, his decision to move to Al Ahli stands as a testament to his pursuit of personal fulfillment, new challenges, and the creation of a secure environment for his loved ones.