Football News

Arsene Wenger makes his 2019 Ballon d’Or award pick

By Chris Smith

Published: 12:26, 19 October 2019

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Liverpool forward Sadio Mane deserves to win this year’s Ballon d’Or award.

Teammate Virgil van Dijk is one of the favourites to lift the award, alongside usual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Should Mane win the Ballon d’Or? Five things to know…

  • Mane scored 26 goals across all competitions for Liverpool last season.
  • The Senegalese forward was key as Liverpool won the Champions League.
  • But he was unable to help them finally seal a long-awaited Premier League title.
  • Wenger believes he still did enough to scoop the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.
  • Mane will have to compete with Van Dijk, Ronaldo and Messi.

But Mane himself is enjoying a wonderful period in his career, scoring 34 goals in his last 61 Liverpool appearances and helping the Reds to their sixth Champions League crown last season.

And Wenger believes the Senegal international is the rightful heir to the Ballon d’Or throne this time around.

When asked by beIN Sports who should win the Ballon d’Or during a Twitter Q&A, Wenger responded: “Mane was the outstanding character, I would say – because he is a fighter… and efficient.

“He’s not scared of anybody. At the moment, he deserves huge credit.”

Mane missed out on a spot in Fifa’s World XI last month but the 27-year-old insists the success of his team is far more important than any individual accolades.

“As I said before, I do not focus on individual distinctions, the collective results are more important to me,” Mane told Canal+ Sport.

“The choices were made. I wasn’t chosen, the players in the awards had exceptional seasons, they deserved to be there, I congratulate these players.

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“I think it’s a strong message for me to work harder.

“I accept, it’s hard for me to to say that I deserve to be there, I’m modest enough for that, and the thing is, the choices have been made and I respect them.”

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