THE ex-wife of Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez has claimed he turned his back on her and their family after signing for the club.
Today singer Rita Johal says the winger, who earns £160,000 a week, transformed from a down-to-earth dad who shopped in Asda into a “big head” after his move from Leicester City.
And she thinks England ace Harry Kane’s wife Kate should breathe a sigh of relief now that his £160million transfer to Man City has collapsed.
Rita, 28, exclusively told The Sun on Sunday: “I can’t comment on other people’s lives but moving there changed my husband.
“Harry Kane’s wife probably had a lucky escape. Others should be careful.
“Riyad let fame go to his head. He changed when he went to Manchester City.
“They should remain grounded and loyal to those they care for, even when they have moved up to a bigger club, because when it’s all over they will realise who’s truly there.”
Rita told how she changed her faith for Muslim Riyad, stopped drinking alcohol and accepted a quiet life with the star when she first met him seven years ago.
But when he moved north for £60million in 2018, she says Riyad, 30, turned cold towards her.
Now he has moved on and is engaged to influencer Taylor Ward.
Rita said: “The Riyad I met is a different person to the one he is now. He parties, he acts like a flash footballer.
“I don’t hate him, that’s a strong word, but I am shocked and saddened by what he has done.
“He suddenly left me, blaming the pressures of playing at Manchester City.
“Now he spends all his time jetting around the place on holiday without a care in the world.”
Rita, who has worked as a film extra in Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Cinderella, was walking in Oxford Street in her home city of London when Riyad tapped on her shoulder.
She said: “It was 2014 and I didn’t have a clue who he was. He wasn’t a big name then.
“But he was charming and I liked him. He was lovely to me, constantly telling me I was beautiful, asking about my life, making me feel special.
The pair became inseparable and just four months later they married in a secret ceremony.
Rita said: “We had a small wedding at home.
“I loved him, I wanted to do that. I changed the way I was for him. I changed my faith.
“I wanted us to be strong together like my own parents and he felt the same way.
“Our wedding was low-key at home with two priests and our close family.
“We were madly in love and we wanted to be together forever.”
During the pregnancy, Rita suffered such bad pre-eclampsia she feared she would die and was wary of trying to have another child.
But a year later the couple welcomed a second daughter, Ayla.
She said: “I was terrified about having more children but Riyad really wanted us to extend our family. I was scared but he kept reassuring me everything would be OK. We were overjoyed when Ayla was born.
“Riyad wasn’t flash. Yes, he was a footballer, but we were just your regular couple with our two little girls.
“He went and played football, I was a stay-at-home mum. We would watch films together.”
But in July 2018, Manchester City confirmed his signing on a five-year contract. The transfer fee of £60million made him the club’s then most expensive player.
“He started to believe his own hype. He had yes men who told him what he wanted to hear. I started to see the change in him.
“He stopped asking me how my day went and what I was going to do.
“I think I became the boring wife at home and he had this glitzy lifestyle away from me.
“Obviously I asked what was going on and he would say, ‘I am pressured, it is the football, I am stressed’.”
Things went downhill further until the Manchester City ace moved out of the family home in 2019.
Rita says: “It got worse and worse. Eventually, he moved into our spare room.
“He just left the family. He left us — he chose a new life.
“I begged him to come home. He said he couldn’t because he felt so pressured because of football.
“The truth is he was bored. It was dreadful for me.
“For a long time I didn’t have the strength to speak about it.
“And then when I did, because I had publicised the fact he had walked out, I was the one accused of cheating.
“There was a huge backlash on social media and I was bullied again, even though in my eyes I was the victim.”
Taylor, 23, moved into his luxury flat in December last year and earlier this year they bought a £2million home in Cheshire.
As reported by ionigeria.com, in June, the Algeria national team captain proposed with a £400,000 custom-made engagement ring.
Rita, who is now dating 28-year-old music producer Fumez The Engineer, said: “I found out that he was going out with Taylor via Instagram, because people kept tagging me in photos of him.
“I found out that he was engaged to Taylor on Instagram too. I wish him all the happiness there is but he appears to live a different lifestyle now.
“He stopped talking to me for a long time after he left. I don’t know why. I did nothing wrong.
“He will mainly talk via my mum, which is ridiculous. It’s hurtful.