Monday night was an incredibly disappointing time for Liverpool fans. Kopites around the world were convinced that their hero, Virgil van Dijk, would be taking home the Ballon d’Or. It was not to be, Lionel Messi won the award for the sixth time and the footballing world was left confused to say the least. Since the ceremony, Lionel Messi has admitted it is a shame that Sadio Mane didn’t come higher in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
The Senegalese forward finished fourth in the world rankings, behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil van Dijk and Lionel Messi. The legendary Argentine told Canal+:
“It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place. But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane because he’s a player that I like. Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That’s why I chose him. I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult.”
What RTK has to say
Lionel Messi voted for Sadio Mane in the Ballon d’Or and also in the FIFPro rankings. The Barcelona legend clearly has a soft spot for his peer, or he wanted to avoid Virgil van Dijk beating him to the award.
There can be no question that if Sadio Mane maintains his current form then he will definitely be in the conversation for the Ballon d’Or in 2020. The Senegalese forward has been wowing us every week with his performances, most recently putting on a show against Everton.
It is scandalous that Cristiano Ronaldo finished above the Reds’ winger but, after all, the Ballon d’Or is just a popularity contest – Ronaldo and Messi will likely finish top 5 until they retire.