Fans, pundits and officials of the country’s football association blamed racism for Mané’s 4th position on the final ranking, but former Senegal international El Hadj Diouf, who also played for Liverpool, believes the votes were authentic.
Days after the 2019 Ballon d’Or awards, Senegalese still find it difficult to swallow their star Sadio Mané’s failure to clinch the ultimate which went to Lionel Messi.
“I don’t think we should use the word racism. That is not right. We need to stop the noise. You could say favoritism but not racism. Being an African footballer is sure a handicap when it comes to such a global vote,” Diouf said.
“The principal deciders and influential media are not in Africa. However, I think Messi hugely deserved it. Mané realized an exceptional campaign but Messi is stratospheric,” said the 38-year-old two-time African footballer of the year.
With 170 points Mané did not win Africa’s vote, coming second behind Messi who claimed the top spot with 187 points.