Nice manager Patrick Vieira has labelled Sadio Mane’s fourth-place position at the 2019 Ballon d’Or as “unfair”, saying the Liverpool forward deserved better.
The Senegal international was beaten to the podium by winner Lionel Messi, Reds teammate Virgil van Dijk and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
It came after a season in which Mane scored 22 goals in the Premier League, joint-top scorer with teammate Mohamed Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and four in the Champions League.
While Jurgen Klopp’s charges fell short behind eventual champions Manchester City domestically, they were crowned European champions for a sixth time.
Thus, Vieira believes Mane deserved a position higher than fourth. “I find it unfair. I find it unfair compared to what he did, compared to the number of games he played, compared to the number of times he was decisive,” the Arsenal legend told RFI.
“Considering the involvement he had had in goals, and importantly the way he behaved on the field, I think he deserved much more than fourth place.”
Mane was in good form for the Reds in the first half of the season, scoring 10 times in 18 league appearances, while netting twice Europe.
The forward is a frontrunner for Player of the Year in Africa, an award he seeks to claim for the first time. He’s in contention with two-time winner Salah and 2016 winner Riyad Mahrez.
The 2019 Caf Awards is set to be held on Tuesday, January 7 in Egypt.
Mane will look to continue his sparkling form when Liverpool host impressive Sheffield United on Thursday night in their first match of 2020.
Klopp’s side will be looking to claim their 19th win from 20 games when the sides clash at Anfield.
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