Brazil defender Thiago Silva has no doubts in mind who he thinks should win the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is a convincing bookmakers favourite to beat Lionel Messi to the prestigious annual award – but Thiago Silva, having faced Sadio Mane last week, claims the Reds attacker would be his pick after admiring from afar his superb form over the calendar year.
Spirits are high at Anfield with the club having claimed Champions League glory in June and picking up where they left off in the Premier League – winning their first eight matches to sit eight points clear at the summit.
And key to their success so far this season has been Mane, with Jamie Carragher naming him as his favourite player in the current Reds side.
No player in the Premier League has scored more than his 25 through the first 10 months of the year, with Raheem Sterling close behind him on 24.
In comparison, teammate Mohamed Salah has managed 14 goals, having played one more game than Mane through 2019.
And that is reason enough, according to Thiago Silva, as to why Mane would be a worthy winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or.
“Sadio Mane is a world class player,” he said. “He is almost perfect.
“He moves very fast, controls the ball well and is very intelligent in his movements.
“With what he has achieved this year, I think he deserves to be in the discussion for the Ballon d’Or.”
Mane also figured prominently in our inaugural Player of the Year ladder feature, which ranks the top 10 players in the Premier League on a month-to-month basis.