Cristiano Ronaldo is always a model of the will to strive for a professional player, but if you carefully study the rise of some stars, there will be someone who is not inferior.

It has been 12 years since Mahrez, a scrawny boy who struggled in matches for local team AAS Sarcelles, tried his luck in a trial match against Quimper, 600 km away along the Atlantic coast of

Mahrez was a slim and timid young man at AAS Sarcelles.

Mahrez is now a star who attended the World Cup with Algeria.

`I’m not surprised that he reached this level, because since he was 18 years old, he has transformed into a monster,` said Mr. Coulibaly.

Like many other boys, the journey from initial love of football to stardom has to go through many challenges that are not simple.

Five years at Sarcelles were the time when he played football most carefree, on a street corner on the outskirts of Paris.

Coulibaly remembers those days clearly: `Back then Riyad was small and shy,` he said.

Less talkative, quieter and more thoughtful after his father’s passing, Mahrez threw himself into training.

Effort pays off.

`The kids are very proud,` Coulibaly said.

A stadium named Mahrez was inaugurated in his hometown, even before Riyad achieved recent successes with Man City, and was an inspiration for the Algerian team at CAN 2019. According to Maher Mezahi, an expert

Mahrez - from shy boy to Man City's 'monster'

Mahrez’s warrior spirit has been an important source of inspiration for Leicester and Man City for many years.

`In previous coaches, the Algeria team did not play well, Mahrez could not integrate, there was even debate about whether he deserved to be on the team or not,` he said.

`Now, he is a true role model for every player in the national team, always shining in important moments. His last-minute free kick against Nigeria in the semi-finals explains why Mahrez is called the player of the year.

Contributing to important moments is Mahrez’s habit.

That change is proof of Pep Guardiola’s influence on Mahrez.

The evidence is that in January 2020, Guardiola made a very witty comment and expressed admiration for his student when saying `it’s very difficult for Riyad to get injured because he… has no muscles. On the opponent’s field.`

Pep has changed Mahrez’s role a bit this season as Man City often plays without the striker.

Mahrez - from shy boy to Man City's 'monster'

Mahrez has scored four goals for Man City in the Champions League this season.

`In Algeria, Mahrez is very hot,` commented journalist Mezahi.

Mahrez’s reputation promises to grow even further if he continues to help Man City overcome Chelsea in today’s Champions League final.