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25th Mar 2016

One of Barcelona’s best ever players thinks Riyad Mahrez would thrive at Camp Nou

Tom Victor

Before this season, the prospect of Riyad Mahrez lining up alongside the likes of Messi, Neymar and Suarez would have seemed preposterous.

But the Algerian midfielder has led Leicester City’s unlikely title charge, with the likes of Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante also playing their part,

And now one of the greatest players ever to step onto the Camp Nou pitch has backed Mahrez to succeed in Catalunya as rumours of a big-money transfer gather pace.

Xavi, who played more than 750 games for Barcelona in nearly two decades with the club, told The New Arab he believed Mahrez is capable of playing for “any big club in Europe.”

Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Final

“He suddenly came to my attention this season, I didn’t know about him before, but this season he has blown up,” Xavi said.

“He could play for Barcelona in the future. He is talented, but that is not in my hands these days.”

The Catalan club have been strongly linked with a move for Mahrez in the summer, after the 25-year-old became the first player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in the Premier League this season.

His tally of 16 goals in 30 appearances is his highest ever return in a single season, and puts him fourth in the overall rankings, just five behind top scorer Harry Kane.