In-form Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez said he is flying high amid comparisons to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Mahrez has taken the Premier League by storm this season, scoring 10 goals as third-placed Leicester surprisingly occupy a spot inside the top four.
The Algeria international netted a hat-trick in last week’s 3-0 win at Swansea City.
And as Leicester prepare to host embattled Premier League champions Chelsea on Monday – in a match that could send Mahrez and Co. top of the standings – the 24-year-old told the Telegraph he is still coming to terms with his remarkable rise in England.
“I feel like I’ve gone up another level this season. Last year was my first in a big league so it was all about experience and it toughened me up,” Mahrez said.
“This year I’ve played more games and that has helped me. Maybe becoming a father has given me a lot of luck because I keep scoring. When I play at home I feel like I’m flying.
“When people mention me and Messi together it’s amazing, because to me Messi is the best of the best. You can’t say anything to him, he’s the boss. I always watch Barcelona on TV at home because I like how they play.”
Mahrez’s exploits have reportedly made Chelsea and Manchester United sit up and take notice but the former Le Havre man is in no rush to leave King Power Stadium.
“Why would I want to go anywhere? It’s not in my head to go now. I’ll just finish the season and then we’ll see.
“I’ve got four years here on my contract until 2019. Life is good.”
Mahrez, whose Leicester have only lost once in 15 Premier League matches, added: “What we’re doing is very good for English football, you can see that even without big stars you can do something. Maybe soon we will be big stars but it’s so strange when you look at the table and we are first, looking at the big clubs below us.
“It’s unbelievable really, people are speaking about Leicester whereas last year they never said a word because we were last. Now everyone respects us.
“When our backs are against the wall we respond. Then you see the real man, the real warrior. We’ve only lost to Chelsea and Arsenal since April and who would have said that? Nobody.”