Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Sadio Mane deserves to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi and team-mate Virgil van Dijk.
Messi is bidding to win the prize for the sixth time this autumn and his greatest challenger was expected to be van Dijk, who helped transform Liverpool into Champions League winners following his £75m arrival from Southampton 18 months earlier.
However, Wenger believes that Mane should be in the frame. The Senegal international finished as the Premier League’s joint-top scorer last term alongside team-mate Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – a feat that is all the more impressive when you consider Mane does not take penalties.
And Wenger believes Mane is deserving of the award as he was the ‘outstanding’ player in Liverpool’s Champions League-winning side.
Arsene Wenger names his 2019 #BallonDor winner!
Thanks to @arsenesgame for their question. #AskArsene #beINWenger pic.twitter.com/bb5GlTlGlS
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) October 18, 2019
Asked who should win the award, Wenger told BeIN Sports: ‘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.’
Liverpool will be hoping Mane is at his very best as the Reds bid to match a Premier League record against arch rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men can make it 18 wins on the bounce with a victory against the Red Devils and they’re overwhelming favourites to do so.
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