Senegal and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has dreamed about winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or, and many on the African continent are hoping this dream becomes a reality on Monday.
Mane has had an impressive calendar year, winning the Champions League, the Premier League Golden Boot after bagging 22 goals and finishing second in the league and African Cup of Nations.
The Senegalese talisman is one of five African players that made it to the 30-man shortlist for this year’s best football player.
All of the Senegalese people, my friends, my family, would be so happy, I would be so happy.
The Ballon d’Or is an annual football award presented by France Football. It has been awarded since 1956.
“The fact that I am listed as one of the nominees is due to the fruits of the work that I’ve been putting in for a long time,’‘ Mane said about the Ballon d’Or shortlist.
“And if I am able to distinguish myself amongst this collective then of course, the Ballon D’Or, has always been my dream. And when a dream comes true, it is always exceptional.
Rooting for Mane
Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba believes Mane has done what it takes to be the second player from the African continent to be named world’s best football player.
‘‘It is possible Mane can emulate George Weah, but it would have been possible before. There are many players who have well represented the African continent, like Samuel Eto’o,’‘ Drogba said.
Mane says he is flattered by such praise from African football legends.
“Eto’o, Drogba, they are legends in Africa and to hear what they are saying about me, it is always nice.”
“All of the Senegalese people, my friends, my family, would be so happy, I would be so happy.’‘
Weah is the only player from the continent to have won the award in 1995, and many commentators have argued that the prize is biased against African players.