Riyad Mahrez’s wife, model and influencer Taylor Ward, has opened up on what life is like for WAGs in Saudi Arabia. The 26-year-old admits the Middle Eastern country is ‘very different’ to England but there are still plenty of familiar spots to find solace in – including a rogue Nando’s chain.
Mahrez joined the horde of Premier League players who made the switch to Saudi Arabia in the summer as he put pen to paper on a four-year deal with Al-Ahli worth a reported £180million. A few days before the transfer was completed Mahrez had returned to Manchester City’s training ground to begin pre-season preparations but his head was turned by the lavish riches of the Saudi Pro League.
Ward said she was ‘overwhelmed’ when her husband told her they were leaving Manchester but she has since come round to the idea and is enjoying life in her new home.
“So far, the experience has been amazing,” she told the Daily Mail. “There’s obviously no alcohol so I won’t be having a glass of wine! To be honest, there’s more there than I originally thought. When I went on my first trip, I saw a Nando’s. I was just like ‘I’m so happy they’ve got Nando’s’.
“The vibe is just very different. It’s a lot more chilled out there, it’s quieter and calmer, whereas in Manchester life is so busy – there’s so much going on and we’re always going out for dinner and seeing friends. That’s probably what I’m missing the most, seeing family and friends rather than what the country is missing.
“The people have been so lovely – I think that was actually a massive shock, how nice everyone has been. You can’t compare it to the UK – it’s nothing like here. I’m enjoying it so far, it just feels like I’m on holiday, I don’t feel like I’ve moved there yet.”
Not everyone has settled into life in the Middle East though. According to the Daily Mail, one Saudi WAG was hissed at in a shopping centre for wearing shorts while Jordan Henderson’s family struggled to adjust despite living in the more commercial Bahrain.
“I’m not just saying this, I actually really like it,” Ward added. “I can’t fault it so far, we’ve really enjoyed it. We’ve just got our house here so I’ll definitely be staying in Jeddah and won’t be going anywhere else.
“It’s got beautiful beaches, shops, restaurants. I don’t think there would be any need to move anywhere else. I’ll be in Jeddah for the forseeable that’s for sure.”