Former Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o has made the bold claim that Liverpool duo Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah should have won the FIFA Player of the Year award (Daily Express).
The showpiece ceremony took place in Milan last night and paid tribute to the best players during 2019. Lionel Messi took the main prize ahead of Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Dutch defender actually had more journalist votes than Messi but lost out on votes from coaches, captains and fans.
Eto’o who spent time with Everton and Chelsea in the Premier League didn’t think any of the three were deserving of the award, however.
The man who played 118 times for Cameroon threw his weight behind Liverpool’s forwards instead.
In quotes from the Daily Express, he said: “The best one for me is Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, but they’re not here.”
The Liverpool duo form two-thirds of arguably the most dominant front three in world football.
Alongside Roberto Firmino they smashed 69 goals between them last season, helping Liverpool to the Champions League crown.
TBR Verdict – Astonishing claim from Eto’o, but does he have a point?
Whenever these sorts of awards are handed out it is typically Messi and Ronaldo that dominate proceedings. Considering they are the two best players on the planet there isn’t a lot wrong with that.
There is an argument that suggests, however, that they haven’t been the best two players in the world during the last 12 months.
Barcelona won La Liga but then is that really an achievement? The league title is par for the course for the Catalan giants and let’s not forget they were embarrassingly dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool.
A three-goal lead from the first leg should have been more than enough for Messi and Co to negotiate at Anfield, but they lost 4-0 with Liverpool completing one of the greatest comebacks the competitions has ever seen.
Awards, where players and coaches get votes, tend to be akin to a popularity contest.
Liverpool were the standout team in Europe last season and Eto’o is probably right to suggest that Mane or Salah should have made the top three.