Riyad Mahrez admitted he celebrated his goal for Manchester City against Tottenham to honour former Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
The Algeria international scored six minutes into Monday’s match at Wembley to secure a 1-0 victory for Pep Guardiola’s side that moved them back to the top of the Premier League on goal difference.
Mahrez pointed to the sky after finishing Raheem Sterling’s cross, his goal coming just 24 hours after Leicester confirmed Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The 27-year-old, PFA Players’ Player of the Year in Leicester’s title triumph in 2015-16, said he has found it difficult to sleep in the last two days after the death of a man he grew to know well during his time at the club.
“It’s been very, very difficult for me,” Mahrez told Sky Sports. “The boss was very special to me. I spent four and a half years there and I have many memories with him.
“He was such a good person, so I’m very, very sad, and it’s why, when I scored, I put my hands in the sky for him.
“He did a lot for me and for Leicester. It’s difficult to speak about it because it’s so sad.
“He was like a dad for us. He was very, very special, such a good person, a very big heart. It was heartbreaking and shocking for me to have this news, of course with all the other people who died with him.
“It’s a difficult situation. I’m with Leicester and the families of the victims.
“I always wanted to play [on Monday] because I knew he would have wanted me to play. He was very passionate about football. It was difficult; I kept thinking about him. It was difficult to sleep as well. It’s part of life, but it’s difficult.”
We’re humbled by the support from the football family and the wider world.
Thank you pic.twitter.com/pURhGc3iy6
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 29, 2018