Ranieri warns Mahrez against distractions

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri urged star winger Riyad Mahrez to stay focused on his role at his current club amid rumours of interest from other clubs.

Mahrez has been a key component in the Foxes surprise Premier League title bid this season, contributing 14 goals and 10 assists in 25 games.

His stunning form has reportedly caught the eye of several big clubs across Europe and Ranieri has told the player he needs to continue performing well if he is to get a move at the end of the season.

“If I am Riyad I say to myself, ‘There are a lot of teams who want me, so I have to show more if I want to go there’,” he told Goal.

“He must think, ‘I have to show my best, because if I do then maybe they want to buy me’.

Ranieri insisted the club was determined to keep their best players, but said he would not force anyone to stay against their will.

“We want to keep all our players. We believe in them, 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’,” he explained.

“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.

“Of course if we got Champions League football, it makes it easier to keep him and for that reason the next five matches are very important ” they could prove to be key,” Ranieri concluded.