Ranieri adamant Mahrez will stay at Leicester

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is adamant his ‘fantasy player’ Riyad Mahrez will stay at the club, despite mounting speculation the Algerian will seek a transfer away from the Premier League champions.

The 25-year-old scored a stunning goal as Leicester beat Celtic 6-5 on penalties in the International Champions Cup after the match ended 1-1.

And the Italian has sent a stark warning to Mahrez and feels the mercurial winger may only be a bit-part player if he moves to one of Europe’s super clubs.

“It’s good. You can continue to write, write, write’. It’s good for you, it’s not good for us. Did you see Riyad, how he’s happy? He played well. He worked so hard for the team. He scored. He will stay with us. Maybe tomorrow some newspapers say 100 millions’. Yes, that’s good. Keep going.

“For us it’s very important because he’s one of our stars. It’s important for us because he’s our fantasy and we can work hard. But with him, something changes. Maybe others teams have more stars and he won’t play at the same level because maybe he will be on the bench. It’s much better he stays with me. Another year is important for him,” the Foxes boss said.

Ranieri was far from happy with his team’s performance and felt the amount of tackles that were lost was a cause for concern.

“I think all the players played well. Of course it’s his [Nampalys Mendy] first match with us. And it’s not easy in the middle. But he recovered good balls, passed well and made one mistake, but it’s okay. I’m not so happy because we lost so many tackles and that is not good for us.”

And when it was put to the him that the loss of midfielder N’Golo Kante to Chelsea may be attributed to a drop in intensity, Ranieri disagreed and firmly believes Leicester will move on without the Frenchman.

“No, look last season we lost [Esteban] Cambiasso. And everybody crying Cambiasso, Cambiasso’ And now we are crying because we lost Kante. Don’t worry. Football in Leicester will keep going. Now my focus is only to prepare the team for August 7th to play against Manchester United. And for this reason it’s important to increase our fitness and our combination play, and not make defensive mistakes.”