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“It was a lovely night!” – Manchester City welcome emotional return of former star to Club World Cup training camp



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Manchester City have reunited with former Etihad Stadium star forward Riyad Mahrez into their FIFA Club World Cup training camp in Saudi Arabia this week.

The 32-year-old left the Treble winners of last season during the most recent summer transfer window, bringing an end to an illustrious stay in English football, and one of the most successful periods in the history of Manchester City.

Opting to favour the ambitious Saudi Arabian football project, heightened over the summer through multi-million investments in some European football’s biggest names, Riyad Mahrez joined Al Ahli in Jeddah for a reported transfer fee of £30 million.

Despite leaving the Etihad Stadium, an emotional bond has remained between both player and club, and friendships remain in tact involving both parties, as illustrated this week whilst Manchester City have been based in Mahrez’s new home city.

As per a new report from the Manchester Evening News’ Tyrone Marshall, former Etihad Stadium superstar Riyad Mahrez joined the Manchester City squad for a team dinner on Wednesday night at their luxury hotel in Jeddah.

Speaking on the reunion with the Algeria international captain, City boss Pep Guardiola said, “It was a lovely night to see Riyad back. He’s living here in Jeddah, it was really nice to see him, he had dinner with us, to spend time together was really cool.”

Guardiola continued by paying tribute to other former Manchester City stars who left the club during the same transfer window, admitting that the club’s successes last season would not have been possible without their contributions to the squad.

“He (Riyad Mahrez) knows, Aymeric Laporte, Cole Palmer, (Ilkay) Gundo(gan), they were a really incredible part of the success for many years we had,” the Catalan coach continued, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News. “When we can see them again it’s really cool, really nice.

“Unfortunately, they (Al Ahli) have a game tomorrow but we have incredible memories, incredible love for Riyad in the locker room. A good decision for him for the last years of his career and we wish him all the best.”

Across Mahrez’s 236 appearances for Manchester City since joining from Leicester City in the summer of 2018, the Algerian football icon scored a staggering 78 goals and complimented by a further 59 assists.

A total of five Premier League titles were claimed across a five-year stay in sky blue, alongside a further six FA Cup, Carabao Cup, and Community Shield titles, as well as a UEFA Champions League winners’ medal in the final game of last season.