Taylor Ward, Riyad Mahrez’s wife, confesses that her husband’s “part of the game, innit” transfer remark before relocating to Saudi Arabia haunts her.
In the summer of 2023, Riyad Mahrez, the former winger for Leicester City and Manchester City, said goodbye to the Premier League when he joined Al-Ahli, a move that took everyone by surprise, especially Mahrez’s family. However, he appeared to brush it off during the ‘Married to the Game’ documentary, which chronicles how Taylor, Riyad, and their 18-month-old daughter have adapted to life in Jeddah.
Taylor Ward told the Daily Mail that her husband’s “part of the game” remark initially overwhelmed and shocked her: “That line haunts me. I keep seeing it on social media. That whole week was just an emotional rollercoaster really. It was a huge shock and I had absolutely no idea. One day we were planning for Riyad to go back to pre-season with City and then overnight we were moving to Saudi and I was planning this whole move. I think it was just very overwhelming at the time and a massive shock because I just didn’t see it coming at all. That scene with Riyad – that is just him to a tee. He is just straight talking and to the point.
Ward admitted that she was shocked by Mahrez decision to leave for Saudi Arabia
“He is very much just like, ‘it is what it is, you’ve got to get over it now’, whereas I’m more emotional. That’s why we work because I’m a bit of a flapper in those situations and he’s very on the ball and just gets on with it.”
Ward added: “We were actually on holiday at the time and there was talk about the move. Riyad had a few years left on his contract at City and was really settled there. Every conversation was ‘we’re not going to move yet, it’s something we’ll consider in a few years’. I started hearing people from Saudi showing interest but never thought anything would come of it. He flew home two days early to start pre-season so as far as I was concerned he was going back to Man City and that was it.
“One day, while I was sitting on the beach, he called me and said, ‘We’re moving, and I’m leaving tomorrow, that’s final’. He put me on the phone to one of the girls at the club and I burst into tears – I was like ‘I can’t believe this is happening’. It happened so quick, you don’t get a minute to say bye to everyone. One minute he was starting pre-season, the next he was saying goodbye.”
Mahrez is currently under contract with Al-Ahli until 2027. He was part of Manchester City’s Treble-winning squad last season and made 236 appearances for the reigning Premier League champions during his five-year tenure, scoring 78 goals and providing 59 assists.