Premier League legend Didier Drogba is backing Liverpool winger Sadio Mane to become the first African since George Weah to win the Ballon d’Or (formerly the FIFA World Player of the Year award).
The Senegal international has enjoyed a sensational past year, in which he finished as the Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer last season, won the Champions League and inspired his country to the AFCON final.
Following Mo Salah’s incredible 2017/18 season, Mane has emerged as a genuine superstar on Merseyside with many now of the opinion he is a better player than the Egyptian.
In the eyes of former Chelsea icon Drogba – who scored 104 Premier League goals for the Blues across two stints – Mane can scoop football’s biggest individual prize this December.
He told Paris Match: “For the CAN, the Champions League, and the championship. What he does in the Premier League, very few players are able to do it. It is possible, but it would have been possible well before.
Drogba will be presenting the men’s award, with Virgil van Dijk and Lionel Messi the two favourites.
TBR’s view – Mane best of the rest
Realistically the award will go to one of van Dijk or Messi, but it would be no surprise to see Mane finish in third place this year.
The former Southampton player has been utterly outstanding in 2019, and it’s difficult to actually recall a period of time where he hasn’t played well following his move to Anfield.
Recently, Messi voted for Mane at the FIFA Best awards, which perhaps tells its own story.