Leicester owner Vichai was like a dad: Mahrez
Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez dedicated his Wembley winner against Tottenham Hotspur to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after the "heart-breaking" death of the Leicester City owner.
Vichai died on Saturday when his helicopter crashed just moments after taking off from Leicester's King Power Stadium, following their match against West Ham United.
The football world was stunned by the tragic accident and it was especially hard to take for Mahrez, who spent over four years with Leicester and was a key figure in their remarkable English Premier League title triumph in 2016.
The Algeria winger enjoyed a good relationship with the charismatic Vichai before moving to City ahead of the current campaign.
The devastated Mahrez, 27, admitted he was torn about whether to play against Tottenham, but went ahead because he believed Vichai would have wanted him to.
After scoring the only goal of the game in the sixth minute, Mahrez celebrated by raising his fingers to the sky in tribute to Vichai.
"It has been very, very difficult for me. It is not easy to have this type of stuff. The 'Boss' was very special to me," Mahrez told Sky Sports.
"I spent 4½ years there and have many memories with him. He was such a good person.
"I am very, very sad. That is why when I scored I put my hands in the sky for him.
"He did a lot for me and Leicester and it is difficult to speak about. It is very sad."
Mahrez flourished at Leicester and was voted Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year for his dazzling displays in their title triumph.
He insisted he wouldn't have been able to rise to the top without the support of Vichai, who bought Leicester in 2010.
"He was like a dad. He was very special. He was such a good person, a big heart and it was heart-breaking and shocking for me to hear this news and for all of the other people who died with him," Mahrez said.
His then-manager at Leicester, Claudio Ranieri, too, paid tribute to his former boss.
The Italian told Sky Sports Italia: "He came into the locker room only to dispense kind words, never to reproach you.
"One time soon after my birthday, he arrived in the locker room with a huge cake and made everyone sing 'Happy Birthday'."