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BALLON D'OR

Liverpool's Sadio Mané gets Didier Drogba's backing for the Ballon d'Or

Sadio Mané has enjoyed an impressive year with Liverpool and Senegal, earning the support of Didier Drogba in the 2019 Ballon d'Or race.

Liverpool star Mane gets Drogba backing for Ballon d'Or

Liverpool and Senegal forward Sadio Mané deserves to win the 2019 Ballon d'Or after a standout 12 months for club and country, according to Didier Drogba.

Mané started all 13 matches in Liverpool's glorious Champions League campaign last season and finished joint-top-scorer in the Premier League as his side missed out on the title by a point. The 27-year-old then helped Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Algeria.

Nice finish: Liverpool's Sadio Mané dinks one over the keeper in this week's game against Genk.

Sadio Mané in scintillating form

Mané has started 2019-20 in impressive form, too, and was this week included on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or alongside six Liverpool team-mates. He has Drogba's backing, as the former Chelsea explained to Paris Match.

"For the Cup of Nations, the Champions League and the Premier League [Mane deserves to win]," Drogba said. "What he does in the Premier League, very few players are able to do it."

Mané celebrates with Mohamed Salah

Africa's football stars and the Ballon d'Or

George Weah is the only previous African player to have won the sport's top individual accolade, doing so in 1995, and Drogba is keen to see a new name in that select group.

"There are many players who have well represented the African continent, like Samuel Eto'o," he said. "What is a pity is that when we talk about African player, we talk about the continent, we do not speak of a country. We will never say Kylian Mbappe represents the European continent. It is a small shift that is present. But to return to the question, it would be really nice if Sadio or even Mohamed Salah continue to raise their level of play to hope to win this trophy."