Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva has tipped Sadio Mane to be among the frontrunners to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or, labelling the Liverpool winger “almost perfect”.
Mane’s performances were pivotal as Liverpool won the Champions League last season and he has brought that form into the current campaign.
Is Mane a Ballon d’Or contender? Five things to know…
- Mane is on the long list of nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
- But Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are the favourites to win it.
- Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker are also in the running.
- Mane scored one fewer goal (26) than Salah (27) across all competitions last season.
- But he leads the Egyptian by eight goals to six so far this term.
The Senegal international’s teammate Virgil van Dijk is among the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or this year alongside the usual suspects, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker will also provide familiar competition for Mane, but Silva – who faced Mane during the international break – believes the 27-year-old has a shot at glory.
“Sadio Mane is a world class player,” Silva said. “He is almost perfect.
“He moves very fast, controls the ball well and is very intelligent in his movements.
“With what he has achieved this year, I think he deserves to be in the discussion for the Ballon d’Or.”
Mane will look to add to his five league goals when Liverpool face Manchester United at Old Trafford this weekend.
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“He’s my favourite player at the club” – Carragher
Mane scored 22 goals in the Premier League last season, sharing the Golden Boot with Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
His performances have earned him a big fan in former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who recently waxed lyrical about Mane when speaking to the club’s official website.
He said: “Even after the first couple of games, I said Mane, probably along with Raheem Sterling, was possibly the best left winger in the world.
“I absolutely love him, he’s my favourite player at the club. He’s brilliant, he’s always got a smile on his face, always there, always gets knocked about, gets goals, setting others up.
“He’s the one who came in at the very start under Klopp, his first real big signing, and I think ever since then he’s just been getting better and better. He’s just a machine.”