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Riyad Mahrez on Spurs and settling in at City

"If it's not this year, I think it will be next year," said Riyad Mahrez as he yearns for his first UEFA Champions League winners' medal.

Riyad Mahrez in training with Manchester City
Riyad Mahrez in training with Manchester City ©Getty Images

One of the miracle men who won the 2015/16 English title with Leicester, then reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals the following season, Riyad Mahrez is hoping to be a European champion with Manchester City this spring.


The French-born Algerian international, 28, joined Josep Guardiola's side last summer and has already won the English League Cup; how many more winners' medals will he have by the end of term?

On the quarter-final against Spurs ...

Highlights: Man. City 7-0 Schalke
Highlights: Man. City 7-0 Schalke

It'll be a very tough tie, but I think we'll be ready. We know them, they know us as well. We've already faced them many times and we've already beaten them, but maybe knowing each other very well could also be a disadvantage.

Everyone has done their bit, whether it's scoring goals, registering assists or defending well, and as the coach says, we need everyone – that's how you can get to the next level. I think we have a superb squad of players, with so much quality and a wonderful coach, so everything is in place for us to go all the way.

Winning it would be really incredible. I've always wanted to win this type of competition. If it's not this year, I think it will be next year, and we'll do everything to try to win it. We'll have to beat Tottenham first and then we'll see.

On his game ...

What I love is being free to express myself on the pitch, and to just move around and play. That's the most important thing to me. I do like playing in the middle too, but I like starting my moves from the right.

Things are a little bit different with [Josep Guardiola]. He likes us to stick to the touchline, while I used to enjoy cutting inside. It's different, but you have to adapt. It's a learning process – you learn different things from different coaches, as their approaches to the game aren't the same. You just have to adapt to that – that's our role.

On life at Man. City ...

Mahrez reached the last eight with Leicester
Mahrez reached the last eight with Leicester©Getty Images

I'd seen it all at Leicester. I needed to experience something different, and to make a step up. This club was the perfect one for me to do so, as the game they play suits me well. I also had the desire to work with Pep.

Our squad includes potential starters only; everybody is good enough to play. We have two really good players in each position, so it's great. Everybody challenges each other and tries to help one another improve. There's competition among us and I think it's a good thing.

On the UEFA Champions League ...

All of Messi's European goals: 2005-2018
All of Messi's European goals: 2005-2018

I've always liked [Lionel] Messi, or players like [Hatem] Ben Arfa, [Arjen] Robben. I have a lot of memories [of the UEFA Champions League], especially from the era when Barcelona were shining, from 2010 to 2012. They were very enjoyable games to watch.

I've always dreamt of playing in this type of competition. It's my second Champions League quarter-final, having reached this stage once with Leicester. I hope we reach the semi-finals and then the final.