Liverpool player named Ballon d’Or contender over Salah and van Dijk

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French outlet L’Equipe has named the five top contenders to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and Sadio Mane has made the list ahead of his Liverpool teammates Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

The talk around Merseyside almost every day in the first half of the season was that Mo Salah is the best player in the world. To be fair, the Egyptian was better than everyone else at the time, but things have changed now.

In their top five contenders list, the French newspaper don’t even consider Salah or his good pal van Dijk, who is the best defender in world football in many people’s eyes.

There are, however, five players who they think are the contenders to lift the prestigious award this year, and Mane is one of them.

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Mane named as a Ballon d’Or contender ahead of Salah and van Dijk

The five players named as contenders are Mane, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, Real Madrid star Kevin Benzema, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and PSG star Kylian Mbappe.

L’Equipe believe that Benzema, who has been absolutely brilliant this season, is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or. He has scored 38 goals and provided 13 assists in all competitions, and has almost singlehandedly carried Real Madrid into the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Mane, on the other hand, has only scored 16 goals and has provided two assists in all competitions this season. That’s not even comparable to Benzema, but the Liverpool man led his country to win the AFCON and also qualify for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

That may just be the only reason why he’s even on the list ahead of Salah, who has more goals and assists than Mane for Liverpool in all competitions this season.

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Unlucky Salah

L’Equipe claim in their report: “Unlike his friend from Liverpool – the Egyptian Mohamed Salah -, Sadio Mané can play the “winners” card this year since he won the African Cup of Nations with Senegal in February. 

“He also participated, still against the Pharaohs, in qualifying for the next World Cup. The hard-hitting winger is also in contention for a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup title, having previously lifted the League Cup.”

Salah, individually, has been better than Mane, nobody can deny that. He is undoubtedly the best in the Premier League and is definitely in the conversation when it comes to the topic of the best player in the world.

However, what Mane, branded as ‘unbelievable’ by Peter Krawietz, has achieved with Senegal may just give him the edge. Salah can lead Liverpool to the quadruple now, but his pal on the other flank would be winning that too, which almost gives the Egyptian no chance to be in contention to win the biggest individual award in world football this year.

Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

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