Ranieri challenges Mahrez to learn from Ronaldo and Messi

By Sacha Pisani 31 December 2016 178
Ranieri challenges Mahrez to learn from Ronaldo and Messi

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has called on Riyad Mahrez to take inspiration from star duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in a bid to rediscover his best form.

Mahrez - PFA Player of the Year and African Footballer of the Year in 2015-16 - has struggled to reach the lofty heights of last season after helping Leicester stun the world by winning the Premier League title.

The Algeria international has been a shadow of himself as Leicester flirt with relegation, relegated to the bench for the club's Boxing Day defeat to Everton.

In a challenge to motivate Mahrez ahead of Saturday's clash against West Ham, Ranieri said: "Ronaldo and Messi won the Golden Ball and they want to win again and win again. They are always looking forward.

"Riyad won a lot of things last season, but it is not right if he is satisfied with that.

"Now he has to improve. Now he has to try to win the Ballon d'Or, like the big players.

"I need more from all the important players and for us Riyad is one of the most important players. When Riyad is switched on everything is fantastic."

Mahrez - who netted 17 goals last term - has scored just three goals this season as Leicester sit three points above the relegation zone after 18 rounds.

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Sacha Pisani