Arsene Wenger has said that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane should win this year’s Ballon d’Or ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi and Reds teammate Virgil van Dijk.
Real Madrid’s Luka Modric is the current holder of the esteemed accolade but Messi – who picked up his sixth Golden Shoe – and Van Dijk, who has been imperious at the back for Liverpool, are among the favourites this time around.
“Mane was the outstanding character,” the 69-year-old said.
“I would say – because he is a fighter… and efficient. He’s not scared of anybody. At the moment, he deserves huge credit.”
Mane was arguably the most effective of Liverpool‘s front three last season, scoring crucial goals to help his side on both the domestic and European fronts.
Key goals included his brilliant finish against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and his goal versus Fulham that helped his team keep up the pressure on Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.
Overall, Mane’s 22 league goals meant he was one of three winners of last season’s Golden Boot, sharing the prize with Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.