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‘Mane deserves Ballon d’Or more than Mbappe’ – Liverpool star has backing of Diouf

9:35 PM GMT+8 24/10/2019
Sadio Mane Liverpool 2019-20
The former Reds forward has not always spoken highly of those at Anfield, but he is a big fan of a fellow Senegalese starring in the Premier League

Sadio Mane is more deserving of Ballon d’Or recognition than Kylian Mbappe, says El Hadji Diouf, with the former Liverpool star backing the claims of a fellow Senegalese to lofty standing in the 2019 vote.

A man who endured a troubled spell at Anfield in his playing days has not always spoken highly of those on Merseyside.

Diouf is, however, prepared to make an exception when it comes to a countryman who has starred for Liverpool in recent years.

Mane is a Premier League Golden Boot winner and a key cog in Jurgen Klopp’s well-oiled machine, with his exploits considered to have him above Paris Saint-Germain’s World Cup-winning striker Mbappe.

Both men have made the list of 30 candidates for the next Golden Ball, with Diouf telling Le Parisien on a couple of hopefuls: “I think Sadio Mane had a better year than Kylian Mbappe.

“He deserves the Ballon d’Or more on a personal and collective point of view.

“We can’t compare the French and English leagues. There’s more effort required in the Premier League.”

Mbappe registered 39 goals and 17 assists in 43 outings for PSG last season, while Mane found the target 26 times and teed up a team-mate on five occasions.

Diouf would still have the latter in his top three when it comes to the Ballon d’Or, with a Barcelona superstar taking the main prize for a sixth time ahead of a club colleague of Mane’s.

“For me, the podium would be Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk and Mane just by the leagues they play in,” added Diouf.

“You know that to win the Ballon d’Or, you have to leave France.

“The only one to have done it while being in Ligue 1 is Jean-Pierre Papin, and he was in a Marseille team that played the Champions League final.”

Mbappe has seen a move away from PSG mooted, with talk of a switch to Real Madrid never far away for the highly-rated 20-year-old.

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has also suggested that the France international should be a target for those at Old Trafford, with such talent and potential of interest to any side in world football.