GOAL50 gives GOAL readers the opportunity to decide the best male and female players on the planet, as well as celebrate some of the game’s greats in our debuting World Cup Wonders section.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane may have missed out on the World Cup for different reasons, but these two former Liverpool teammates are both expected to be among the genuine contenders to win the men’s GOAL50.
There are 2,450 match-ups in each GOAL50 section, but surely the clash between Salah and Mane is one of the most hotly anticipated.
Mane’s absence from the World Cup is a bitter blow to all fans of the sport, as well as just Senegal supporters. He recently finished second in the Ballon d’Or vote behind only Karim Benzema, having enjoyed a sensational year so far.
He was Player of the Tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, scoring the decisive penalty as Senegal won their first ever title, and then also inspired the Teranga Lions to World Cup qualification – dispatching Salah’s Egypt in the playoff.
His final season in the Premier League brought another PFA Team of the Year nomination, as Liverpool pushed Manchester City close and won both domestic cups, while Mane also netted five—to Salah’s eight—in the Champions League as the Reds reached the final.Getty Images
UCL final defeat by Real Madrid was Mane’s last act with Liverpool, as he departed for Bayern Munich, where he’s promptly picked up his goalscoring form in the Bundesliga.
Also missing from the World Cup is Salah, who had shown hints of returning to his late-2021 form during the final weeks of the season before football was paused for the international break.
The Egypt talisman has had a hand in 14 goals in 21 appearances for Liverpool during the first part of the season, and continues to terrorise defences with his pace, work ethic and clinical finishing.
Like Mane, Salah is a two-time African Footballer of the Year, and as the all-time top African scorer in the Premier League, and a three-time Golden Boot winner, he must be among the favourites to win GOAL50.
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