Claudio Ranieri urges Riyad Mahrez to stay at Leicester

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri arrives at Celtic Park July 23 2016
Image: Ranieri arrives at Celtic Park ahead of the match on Saturday

Claudio Ranieri says Riyad Mahrez risks ending up on the bench if he decides to leave Leicester this summer.

On Saturday, reports in France claimed the Algeria winger had agreed to leave the Foxes and join Premier League rivals Arsenal ahead of the new season. 

Mahrez was named the 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year after playing a pivotal role in Leicester's remarkable rise from relegation candidates to Premier League champions last season. 

Leicester and England forward Jamie Vardy turned down the chance to join Arsenal in June, deciding to sign a new four-year deal at the King Power Stadium instead.

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Highlights of the International Champions Cup clash between Leicester and Celtic

And Ranieri has urged Mahrez, who scored a stunning goal in Leicester's 1-1 International Champions Cup draw with Celtic at Celtic Park on Saturday evening, to follow Vardy's lead by staying at the club as he plots their title defence. 

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"Did you see how Riyad is happy? He played so well, worked so hard for the team, he scored a goal and he stays with us," Ranieri said. 

Riyad Mahrez is lifted up by Leicester team-mate Leonardo Ulloa after scoring against Celtic
Image: Leonardo Ulloa celebrates with Mahrez following his team-mate's superb strike in Glasgow

"It is very important [to keep him] he is one of our stars.

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"Other teams maybe have more stars and maybe he doesn't play at the same level, because maybe is on the bench so it is much better he stays with me."

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates after scoring to make it 0-1 during the ICC Cup match between Celtic and Leicester C
Image: Mahrez was a pivotal player in Leicester's run to the Premier League title last season

When asked if he was confident Mahrez would stay at Leicester, Ranieri told Sky Sports: "I am always confident. Of course, we know that there are other teams that want to win the Premier League."

New signings Ron-Robert Zieler, Luis Hernandez, Nampalys Mendy and Ahmed Musa featured for Leicester against the Scottish Premiership champions, and Ranieri praised the quartet for settling into the squad quickly. 

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"I am very happy. We have a very good dressing room, the players who have come in are good, there is a very good harmony and for us that was the first important thing," he added. 

"I am very happy today. We were concentrated and compact. Now we play two different sides in PSG and Barcelona.

Riyad Mahrez scored Leicester's only goal
Image: Mahrez opens the scoring for Leicester in their pre-season clash against Celtic

"The players came back in good condition. We are getting better. Celtic's fitness is ahead of ours. It was a good challenge.

"We have a long journey to Los Angeles now, but the experience of playing in these fantastic matches is important. 

"Our fans were fantastic. So many of them travelled a long way to Glasgow so I say thank you to them."

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