Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ranieri Is Confident Ace Mahrez Will Not Be Sold

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ranieri Is Confident Ace Mahrez Will Not Be Sold

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Mashiter

LEICESTER boss Claudio Ranieri insists he is "99 per cent" certain Riyad Mahrez will stay at the club after their title triumph.

The Algeria international won the PFA Player of the Year award this season after scoring 18 times to help fire the Foxes to an improbable title.

They will receive the Barclays Premier League trophy after tomorrow's final home game of the season against Everton.

Mahrez signed a new four-year deal last year but has been linked with a move away, with Barcelona reportedly interested - although Ranieri believes he will keep him.

He said: "It's 99 per cent he will stay.

"I'm very, very confident. I suggest to all my players, stay one year more. Don't go. If you go (to) another team, you might not get on the pitch."

Ranieri gave the players an extra day off this week but insisted he expects total professionalism tomorrow and warned them there will be consequences if not.

He added: "I kill them with my bare hands.

"It is important to clean our minds and keep going with our jobs. This is very sweet but our job is to play.

"Of course there will be a good match for us, now we are champions but Everton want to beat us so it is right to put our mind on the job.

"I've watched how they train and it was good."

The city has been celebrating since winning the title on Monday, following Tottenham's 2-2 draw at Chelsea left the team seven points clear with two games left.

Ranieri admitted he wants to sneak into the city and see the party.

He said: "I'd like to go around the city with black glasses to watch what is happening - it's amazing.

"It's difficult to give a message to these fantastic people. They were dreaming, I say 'dilly ding, dilly dong', they wake up and the dream is a reality. I can only say thank you with all my heart at home, away, everywhere to push behind us. …

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