Sadio Mane says that African players are often overlooked when it comes to awarding the Ballon d’Or ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League final clash against Real Madrid.
George Weah was the first and remains the only African to pick up the coveted individual award back in 1995 due to his performances with both Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.
Speaking on the lack of African winners, Mane said: “It's true. If you guys say it, what can I say myself? Which is sad. This cup, the Africa Cup of Nations, is one of the biggest for myself; it is the biggest trophy I have won in my life.
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“For an African player not to have won the Ballon d'Or since George Weah it is sad for sure. Winning the Champions League is special. I have a chance to play it again, and we have a chance to win it as we have a strong team.
“We will do everything we can to win it, and then we will see what happens with the Ballon d'Or.”
Mane’s season so far has been one for the history books, with the player winning both the League Cup and the FA Cup with Liverpool.
He also achieved international success with Senegal, guiding them to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations after beating Mohamed Salah’s Egypt on penalties.
“Winning the Africa Cup is one of the greatest moments, for sure,” Mane said.
“Honestly, I’m really enjoying every single moment. The Champions League final will make it even more special when we win it! We all have our targets, to go for all the trophies, to win the Champions League, which would be special.
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“For me, it would be even more special to have another bonus, which is the Ballon d’Or, and I would be the most happy player in the world. But for that, you guys [journalists] have to decide.”
Senegal and Egypt also faced off during the World Cup qualifiers, where Mane once again helped ensure that his team would be making an appearance in Qatar this November.
Recently, Mane has refused to publicly answer the question as to whether he will remain at the Merseyside club beyond this year, saying that he’ll reveal all after the final.
“The answer I can give you now is I feel very good, and I am fully focused on the Saturday game, that is the answer I must give before the final. But come back to me on Saturday, and I will give you the best answer. For now, let's go and win it."
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