Last season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year should stay at the Foxes and remain a star, according to the Italian manager amid speculation surrounding his future.
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has urged Riyad Mahrez to stay a star at the club rather than just becoming another player elsewhere.
Mahrez, 25, continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal as the Premier League champions battle to keep their stars.
Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan are among those to have re-signed, while midfielder N’Golo Kante moved to Chelsea.
Ranieri hopes he can keep Mahrez, telling the Algeria international he needed to be careful about moving elsewhere.
“I think Mahrez for us is very important. He’s our light. If he goes to another big team, there are so many lights, so many stars, why? Stay with us, it’s much better,” he told ESPN.
“He’s our champion. If he goes to another team, there are so many champions.
“He knows me, I know him very well and I understand when he plays so-so and I keep him on the pitch, maybe another manager when he plays so-so, there are so many other stars and [they’ll] put him on the bench.
For Riyad, it is important you give him confidence, but if you put him on the bench, he gets down.
“I think, I hope he can stay with us because it’s important for us but also it’s important a lot for him.”
Ranieri was delighted Vardy, who scored 24 league goals last season, opted to snub Arsenal.
He revealed how he tried to convince Kante to stay before the former Caen midfielder opted for his Chelsea switch.
Ranieri said: “I could understand N’Golo Kante. We bought him from a little team in France, he came with us, all the world was speaking about N’Golo.”
He added: “I said, ‘If you stay with us one year more, you play Champions League, you improve, experience everything and next season you can go to the big teams’.
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