Ranieri makes Mahrez admission

Algerian star free to leave, says Foxes boss Ranieri.


Claudio Ranieri has told in-form Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez that he can leave the club this summer.

The Algeria international has been in scintillating form all season, netting 14 Premier League goals and setting up another 10 as the table-topping Foxes enjoy a fairytale campaign thus far.

The 25-year-old has reportedly courted interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in recent months, with the Spanish giants thought to be weighing up £25 million summer moves.

Should Mahrez inform Ranieri of his desire to leave the King Power Stadium, the Italian was unequivocal in stating that he will not tolerate players whose hearts do not belong to City.

"We want to keep all our players. We believe in them," the former Chelsea manager said in a press conference, as quoted by Four Four Two.

"But if a player comes to me and says, ‘Boss, I want to go there because it’s my ambition’, I’ll say, ‘Go and enjoy and have good luck’.

"I want only players who are happy to stay here. Sooner or later we will grow as a club and be a very good team but, of course, not like Barcelona or Real Madrid."

Worryingly for Leicester, Mahrez's form has shown signs of tailing off slightly in recent weeks, having netted just one goal from his 11 outings in 2016 so far, with that standout performance against Manchester City particularly impressive.

His side will certainly need him over the coming months as Ranieri's men flirt with what would have seemed a virtually impossible task way back in August.

They have some 12 games in which to see out their two-point advantage over rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, with the latter beating them 2-1 in cruel fashion in their last league outing a fortnight ago.

With the Gunners and Spurs not playing until Sunday, Leicester can open up a five-point gap at the summit by beating Norwich City at the King Power Stadium today.

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