Lionel Messi has conceded to voting for Liverpool forward Sadio Mane in The Best poll and feels the Senegalese was only unfortunate to finish fourth behind himself, Virgil van Dijk and Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or vote.
Lionel Messi has added a sixth Golden Ball to his remarkable collection , with Van Dijk edged out for the second time already this year.
The Liverpool central defender also missed out on the FIFA Best prize , with Messi claiming that honour for the first time in his football career.
The exploits of those at Anfield across the last one year have helped to put their leading lights in contention for the most prestigious personal awards.
Mane slips seamlessly into that talent bracket, with the in-form forward having claimed a share of the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2018-19 season.
He also helped Liverpool to Champions League glory, while they are now back in the hunt for the Premier League title.
Quizzed by Canal+ Sport Africa on his Best vote for Sadio Mane and the final standings in the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi said: “It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place.
“But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane (for The Best award) because he’s a player that I like.
“Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That’s why I chose him.
“I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult.”
Mane has been starring again for Liverpool in the 2019-20 season, with another effort in a 5-2 Merseyside derby victory over Everton taking him onto 13 goals for the campaign.
He has already stated a desire to keep himself in contention for future awards, saying on the back of Messi’s triumph: “I congratulate the winner and give him an appointment next year. I’ll try to be there and maybe lift the Ballon d’Or.”