Riyad Mahrez Retires From International Football as Algeria Crashes Out of the Africa Cup of Nations

Published 01/24/2024, 5:51 AM EST

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It wouldn’t have been the ending Riyad Mahrez dreamed of. Algeria’s hopes in the 2024 African Cup of Nations were dashed when Mauritania beat them in the final group-stage match a few hours ago. The result has crushed Mahrez’s hopes of clinching the prestigious trophy and also forced the Al Ahli star to make the unexpected decision to retire from international soccer.

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According to Algerian newspaper Al-Mahdab, with this setback with Algeria, the former Manchester City star wants to concentrate solely on his domestic career. Hence, the defeat against Mauritania was the winger’s final match of his national career. Notably, Alegria didn’t pass the Group Stage test with flying colors. Drawn alongside Angola, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania in a relatively simple Group D, Djamel Belmadi’s side finished last with just two points and failed to win a single match.

Notably, Riyad Mahrez failed to get his name on the scoresheet to the disbelief of Algerian fans. Hearing about his potential retirement reminds us of Lionel Messi who announced his international retirement following the 2016 Copa America final loss against Chile. Although La Pulga made a comeback to clinch glory, it’s unlikely that Mahrez will follow suit with a similar U-turn. While the right winger’s goal of winning the World Cup remains unfulfilled, he did lead Algeria to their second African Cup of Nations victory in 2019.

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Their first AFCON victory occurred in 1990. Interestingly, even in the preceding edition in 2021, they were eliminated during the group stages. Be that as it may, it is quite a heartbreaking moment for all the Algerian fans and players who hoped to bring home the 3rd cup in the city of Algiers. As for Mahrez, club soccer remains the only grass for him to showcase his talents. After all, the player is ready to stay with his current domestic for eternity. 

Riyad Mahrez is ready to make a ‘forever’ promise to Saudi Arabia 

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After achieving heights of glory with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez took no time to settle in Al Ahli. In fact, as per journalist Saad Al Lazeez, the 32-year-old is willing to live out his entire life in Saudi Arabia. Speaking with Lazeez, Mahrez said, “I imagine myself living in Jeddah and Saudi Arabia all my life now!”

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Sticking to those claims, Mahrez is performing quite well for Al Ahli. In over 20 appearances, including the Saudi Pro League and the Kings Cup, he managed to score nine goals and seven assists. Likewise, Matthias Jaissle’s side is also enjoying 3rd place in the SPL table with 40 points. While Mahrez couldn’t find glory on the international level this time around, let’s hope things remain positive on the domestic front.

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Written by:

Abhishek Mishra

1,680Articles

One take at a time

I first kicked a soccer ball when I was 12. My early exposure to playing the sport earned me many accolades at the zonal and district levels. I still remember my first goal, where I scored a 90+5 minute header like Sergio Ramos did in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy

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