Hazard was the Premier League’s showboater-in-chief in 2014-15, but his crown has been stolen by Mahrez, whose 14 goals and 10 assists make him one of the favourites to succeed the Belgian as England’s Player of the Year. The two players were born a month apart in 1991 and both are quick, skilful forwards who learnt their trade in northern France – Hazard at Lille, Mahrez at Le Havre. But it is where their similarities end that the symbolism begins. Hazard, a £32 million ($46.3 million, 41.3 million euros) signing from Lille in 2012, has become the sleep-walking incarnation of Chelsea’s slump from champions to mid-ranking also-rans. Leicester have taken their place at the summit and in the impish Mahrez, a £400,000 bargain buy from Le Havre, they possess a figure who embodies the Premier League’s startling democratisation.
How Riyad Mahrez stole Eden Hazard’s crown as England’s great entertainer – my piece for AFP can be found here.
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