Ballon d’Or: Does Mane, Salah, Mahrez, Haller & Oshoala have a chance?

Sadio ManeBackpagepix

Africa has five nominees for the Ballon d’Or award after Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Sebastien Haller and Asisat Oshoala made Friday’s shortlist.

Liberia’s George Weah remains the only African to have won the prestigious award when he claimed it while playing for AC Milan in 1995.

With Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema and Barcelona and Spain star Alexia Putellas the hot favourites to win the men’s and women’s award, GOAL looks at the chances of the African nominees.

  • Sadio Mane Afrika-Cup SenegalGetty Images

    Sadio Mane

    African Player of the Year Mane should push Benzema to the very end after a brilliant season for both club and country.

    The Senegal and Bayern Munich forward scored 23 goals for Liverpool last season as they won the FA and Carabao Cups while reaching the Champions League final and missed out on the Premier League title by just one point.

    He turned up in big games, scoring in the Champions League and FA Cup semi-finals as Jurgen Klopp’s juggernaut rolled on.

    Mane was also instrumental in Senegal winning their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title, scoring three goals while providing two assists, including the winning penalty, as the Teranga Lions edged Egypt to claim the prize.

    He would soon after play a key part as Senegal qualified for the 2022 Fifa World Cup at the expense of the Pharaohs. Mane came close three years ago when he finished fourth behind winner Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.

  • Mohamed Salah of LiverpoolGetty Images

    Mohamed Salah

    The Egyptian forward also stands a chance of being crowned Ballon d’Or winner given his record in the Premier League last season that won him the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award.

    Salah scored 31 goals in all competitions (23 in the league) and 15 assists for Liverpool to win the Premier League Golden Boot Award as the Reds won the FA and Carabao Cups and reached the Champions League final.

    The only blemish on his 2021-22 campaign, however, is that he did not lead Egypt to success after losing to Senegal in the 2021 Afcon final and also missed out on a ticket to the World Cup at the expense of the Teranga Lions.

    This is Salah’s fourth Ballon d’Or nomination, having finished sixth in 2018, fifth in 2019 and seventh last year.

  • Manchester City and Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez 2021-22Getty

    Riyad Mahrez

    The Algerian winger was Manchester City’s top scorer last season with 24 goals and nine assists as Pep Guardiola’s men retained the Premier League title.

    Mahrez scored decisive goals in key games for the Citizens, who also reached the Champions League and FA Cup semi-finals.

    However, despite his fine season at club level, he stands little chance given he was part of the Algerian team that had a disappointing Afcon title defence when they were eliminated at the group stage in Cameroon. Mahrez has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or three times before.

  • Sebastien Haller Ajax Champions League 2021-22Getty

    Sebastien Haller

    The Ivory Coast striker is a rank outsider despite his impressive numbers for Ajax last season.

    Haller was Ajax’s top scorer with 34 goals and seven assists in all competitions and also won the Eredivisie Golden Boot Award after scoring 21 league goals as his club claimed back-to-back titles.

    Now at Borussia Dortmund, Haller did not enjoy success for his national team as the Ivorians were knocked out of the Afcon by finalists Egypt in the Round of 16.

  • Asisat Oshoala Barcelona Goal 50 SLIDELIST

    Asisat Oshoala

    The only African nominated in the women’s category, the Nigerian striker had a fine season with Barcelona, scoring 20 goals to win the Pichichi award despite missing two months of action due to a thigh injury.

    Oshoala was part of a Barca side that sealed a domestic treble of league, Super Cup and Copa de la Reina titles although they failed to retain the Champions League crown following a 3-1 loss to French giants Lyon.

    Her chances of winning the Ballon d’Or are, however, diminished by the fact that the Super Falcons failed to win the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations crown after finishing fourth with the striker playing only one game after suffering an injury in their tournament opener.