Former Premier League striker Demba Ba has suggested that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane could have pipped Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi to the Ballon d’Or this year.
The Senegal international has been a world class performer for the Reds in recent times, helping them to win the Champions League last season and playing a key role in their Premier League title charge this term.
Still, the likes of Mane and Virgil van Dijk were overlooked for the recent Ballon d’Or awards, with Messi picking up the trophy for the sixth time.
In fairness, the Argentine is an all-time great of the game and it seems fitting that he should pick up the prize more than anyone else, but Ba has made a strong case for Mane.
“These days we speak so much about statistics – I believe that he had the individual and collective stats to have won the Ballon d’Or,” Ba said in an interview.
“I always said if you swap Mane’s stats in 2019 with Messi’s, Messi still would have won it, even with fewer goals.
“The fact that Mane won the Champions League, the Super Cup, he played an unbelievable season and finished joint top goal-scorer in the Premier League, it’s crazy! Not only that, he was decisive in all of the games. I believe he could’ve won it.”