Chelsea legend Didier Drogba believes African duo of Liverpool Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah deserve to win the upcoming Ballon d’Or, following the publication of 30 nominees by organiser France Football, on Monday.
The former Ivory Coast international, who is ambassador for the award, is not ruling out the domination of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but argues that Mané and Salah realised an awesome campaign that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“My two top favourites for the award are Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah. Mané, especially, even though his 2019 AFCON campaign was not excellent, he was able to lead Senegal to the final. He won the UEFA Champions League. His Premier League campaign was exceptional,” Drogba said.
“It’s true we have the two giants Messi and Ronaldo, but we need to acknowledge the fact that Mané deserves consideration. He is not the type we see everyday on social media but the talent is there, pure and natural.
“Two years ago, he reached the Champions League final as well. And he was awesome all through that season. I think he deserves the award,” he said.
Only one African, now Liberia president George Weah, has won the Ballon d’Or, in 1995.
Five Africans figure on the long list. They are Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Riyad Mahrez and Kalidou Koulibaly.
The winner will be announced on December 2.