Riyad Mahrez once fled a trial at St Mirren on a borrowed bike
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 30/04/16 12:19am
Riyad Mahrez has admitted that he once pulled off a daring escape in order to get away from the cold of Scotland after a trial with St Mirren.
The midfielder could help Leicester City to their first Premier League title with victory over Manchester United on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1, after a remarkable season which has also seen him crowned PFA Player of the Year.
However, the Algerian revealed that things have not always been so rosy for him after recounting a two-month trial spell at the then First Division side, where he compared the Scottish weather to "abuse".
Eventually, the cold got too much for him, leading him to leave his football gear behind as he left the club, borrow a bike and sneak out of his hotel in order to escape.
"An agent, Jean Evina, told me he had trial for me in the Scottish First Division with St Mirren reserves," Mahrez told L'Equipe. "He paid for my ticket and I went with another guy from Sarcelles [a suburb in Northern Paris], Dany Bekale.
"It went well. I played four friendlies and I scored seven goals. I killed them. And then they made me wait. Two-and-a-half months.
"I'd had enough. It drove me crazy, Scotland. It was cold. It was abuse. It was snowing and everything... I was so cold that one day I faked an injury to go to the locker room.
"It was physical and it was cold. We trained in the snow! I felt that I progressed; I wasn't allowed to go so I left in secret.
"Anyway... a few days later, my agent said... 'Riyad, I've sent you a ticket, you take the bus right away, get off at Glasgow Station and you get on the train to the airport, then you take the flight to Paris'.
"I did not speak English at all. I left my boots at the training ground. I borrowed a bike from a guy from the hotel, I took my football trainers, I made my bag and I left without telling anyone. Not even the lady at the hotel. I left via a staircase which avoided the reception."
Mahrez eventually signed for French club Le Havre after a spell with amateur side Quimper, before joining Leicester for £400,000 in 2014.