In the whirlwind of Algerian football news, Riyad Mahrez’s recent absence from the national team’s first gathering under Vladimir Petkovic’s leadership has raised many questions.

Until now, many had interpreted this absence, requested by Mahrez, as a need to reassess before making a decision about his future. According to recent information disclosed by the newspaper Compétition, the reality would be a bit more complex, and the explanation behind this decision would also be related to Mahrez’s personal concern about his physical condition and his current level of play.

The former Manchester City player, aware of not being at his peak, would have preferred to skip this March call-up. This decision seems to be motivated by the fear of not meeting the expectations of the new coach and risking tarnishing his image, or even burning bridges permanently. Criticized by Algerian internet users after his absence from the AFCON in Ivory Coast, Mahrez wanted to avoid a new wave of criticism that could jeopardize his status within the national team. Perhaps a sign that he still sees himself continuing with the Fennecs.

He’s Performing Well at Club Level!

This act of withdrawal, although surprising to some, is not isolated in the player’s career. Mahrez had already taken a similar break after Algeria’s elimination in the playoffs for the 2026 World Cup, marking a moment of reflection in his international career. However, his latest match with Al Ahli (Saudi Arabia) against Al-Ettifaq, where he delivered two assists, proves that he remains a major offensive asset.

At 33, his experience and technique are undeniable, making him a key player who still has much to offer to the Algerian national team. This season, he has scored 9 goals and provided 10 assists in 26 matches in the Saudi Pro League. A return as soon as June for the former Leicester star? The suspense remains.

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