Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez has ended his self-imposed exile by returning to training with his team mates Friday morning, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League match at Manchester City.
The Algerian international drove to the Belvoir Drive training ground in a blacked-out minivan, before walking to the training complex hidden under a black hoodie. He was later seen rejoining the first team in a full training session.
Mahrez, the 2016 PFA player of the year had not been seen since the end of January and has missed two games.
During Thursday’s press conference, Leicester boss Claude Puel had claimed that whilst hopeful, he didn’t expect to have the Algerian star available this weekend at the Etihad.
“I think, and I hope, Riyad can get his head right and come back with us and back to hard work,” said Puel.
“For him the best way is to come back and enjoy his football. Riyad is a magnificent player and he loves football. He loves his relationships with his team-mates.
“He enjoys his football and I think he needs to come back and play and touch the ball. He loves his football. He needs to get his head right.”
The 26-year-old had gone AWOL after Manchester City launched a bid to sign him at the end of the January transfer window, but the dream move to the Premier League leaders was blocked by Leicester after City refused to meet their terms.
The Foxes wanted £80million but instead City offered £50million plus young winger Patrick Roberts.
Mahrez handed in a transfer request in order to try and force a move to Manchester City. It was his second attempt at trying to leave the King Power Stadium after also handing in a transfer request at the end of the 2016-17 season, with Leicester then rejecting a bid from Roma.
Mahrez who has missed recent games against Everton and Swansea, has scored 44 goals in 165 games since joining Leicester for £400,000 from French side Le Havre in January 2014.