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African All Stars

Mane: I am happy Real Madrid forward Benzema deserves Ballon d'Or

1:36 PM WAT 05/10/2022
Sadio Mane of Bayern and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid.
Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane says he will be very happy for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to win the 2021-22 Ballon d'Or.
  • Mane says Benzema deserves Ballon d'Or more
  • Cites Benzema winning Champions League
  • Admits he is very happy for Benzema to win

WHAT HAPPENED? The 30-year-old Senegal star had a great season with Liverpool where he scored 23 goals and provided five assists in 51 games. He also guided the Anfield outfit to their ninth Carabao Cup trophy and the FA Cup for the eighth time in their history.

Mane was in hand to help Senegal lift their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations trophy after he scored the winning penalty against Egypt in Cameroon. He was named the player of the tournament having scored three goals and created two assists.

He reached the Champions League final with Liverpool but they suffered a 1-0 defeat against Benzema's Real Madrid in Paris.

WHAT DID MANE SAY? Despite his successes during the last campaign, Mane, who has been shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or award, whose gala will be staged on October 17, does not believe he deserves it.

"Honestly, I think Karim deserves it this year," he admitted to Canal+ as reported by GOAL France after Bayern's 5-0 Champions League win against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday night.

"He had a great, great season with Real, with whom he won the Champions League... He totally deserves it, so I'm very happy for him."

On winning the Afcon for the first time ever, Mane said: "It was a great relief for me, but also for the whole country. I am very happy to have won my first Afcon with the country, but I think Karim deserves it, I sincerely think so."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Lion of Teranga moved to Bayern at the start of the season and has gone ahead to score four Bundesliga goals from eight appearances.

He is currently ranked joint fourth overall.

Mane opened his Champions League goal account on Tuesday in the 5-0 demolition of Viktoria Plzen at Allianz Arena.

WHAT NEXT FOR MANE? He will hope to keep his starting role when third-placed Bayern take on fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund in a top-flight fixture at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.