The Ballon d’Or is the next big footballing event in the calendar as France Football will crown one player as the best in the world. Lionel Messi has already won FIFA's The Best Men’s Player award and if the pattern is to be repeated, then he is all set to win the Ballon d’Or as well.
However, there is also a chance that Sadio Mane could come from behind and scoop up the award and here are three reasons why he could win it…
3. Champions League Glory
The biggest advantage that Sadio Mane has over Lionel Messi is the fact that the Senegalese international won the Champions League last season. The Catalan gians lost in the semi-finals to the Reds after squandering a 3-0 lead to lose 4-0 the second leg.
Mane played a crucial role in the Reds’ run to glory, scoring four goals. It was Mane who helped win the penalty for Liverpool against Spurs in the final of the Champions League last season. His overall impact on his team was simply undeniable, and was seen in Europe.
2. Personal Best Year
Sadio Mane has always been a talented player but 2019 has been the year when he has truly flourished. The Senegalese superstar was jointly awarded the Golden Boot with teammate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for finishing as the Premier League’s highest scorer last season with 22 goals.
In total, he scored 26 goals from 50 matches last season – which is his best-ever return. This season so far, he has already scored 11 times from just 17 games and has often been the saviour for the Reds whenever they needed one.
1. Pressure Player
One of the biggest criticisms that Lionel Messi has faced recently is his inability to positively respond to pressure. In 2018, Barcelona let a 4-1 lead slip against Roma in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final and Messi witnessed it helplessly and a similar thing happened this year against Liverpool in the semi-final.
Mane, on the other hand, has always been there for his team this year. He helped win the penalty against Tottenham in the Champions League final, scored a brace against Chelsea in the European Super Cup and then against Newcastle United in a 3-1 win to help Liverpool extend his consecutive undefeated matches at Anfield record to 50 games. The forward also helped Senegal reach the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.
He was also the architect of the Reds' comeback win against Aston Villa earlier this month. These are only but a few examples of his brilliance and his tendency to perform in important moments could land him the Ballon d’Or this year.
While Lionel Messi is the favourite to win the Ballon d'Or, here are three reasons why Sadio Mane could win it instead...