Lionel Messi was full of praise for Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, stressing that the Senegalese even deserved a better Ballon D’Or standing than his fourth-placed finish at the 2019 Ballon D’Or award ceremony.
The Senegal International had a stellar season with the Reds last term, one Messi didn’t fail to recognize.
The Barcelona forward stated that Mane was his pick for the 2019 Ballon D’Or award ceremony because of his achievements with Liverpool.
The Argentina scooped the award ahead of Mane’s teammate, Virgil Van Dijk and his fiercest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo while Mane finished in fourth place.
This didn’t stop Messi from praising the talented forward
“It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place,” the six-time Ballon D’Or winner told Canal+.
“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.”
Mane was a vital part of the Liverpool team who won the Champions League and finished a close second in the Premier League title race.
Indeed, he was crucial to Liverpool’s comeback at Anfield against Messi’s Barcelona who won the first leg and were comfortably in charge of the tie.
The Senegalese finished as the Premier League highest goal scorer, tying the African duo of Salah and Aubameyang. He also notched 5 assists during that period.
This term, the former Southampton man has had a hand in 20 of Liverpool’s goals, finding the net 13 times and turning provider on seven occasions. His contributions has helped Liverpool establish an eight-point lead over second-placed Leicester City.