Bayern Munich winger Sadio Mane is reportedly set to finish in the top three of the Ballon d’Or rankings later today (October 17) in Paris, France.
The Senegal international moved to Bayern this summer after a memorable six years at Liverpool. His Ballon d’Or nomination comes after he helped the Reds win the FA Cup and the EFL Cup last campaign while also winning the AFCON with Senegal in February.
Mane saw Liverpool come close to winning the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, which would have completed a historic quadruple for them. However, they lost the league to Manchester City by one point and the Champions League final by a 1-0 scoreline against Real Madrid.
According to journalist Papa Mahmoud Gueye (h/t @_BeFootball on Twitter), he is set to finish on the Ballon d’Or podium. This will be the first time a player from the African continent will rank in the top three for the award since Liberia’s George Weah won it in 1995.
Mane has had a decent start to life in Germany as well. The former Southampton winger has scored nine goals and provided one assist in 16 games across competitions under manager Julian Nagelsmann.
He is set to travel to the FIFA World Cup in November after helping his team qualify for the tournament earlier this year. The Lions of Teranga beat Egypt by a 1-0 margin in the deciding qualifier match on March 30.
While Mane is expected to finish in the top three positions, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is believed to be the favorite to take home the award.
Carlo Ancelotti wants Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d’Or
Karim Benzema scored his fourth goal of the La Liga season when he netted the opener in Real Madrid’s 3-1 El Clasico win against Barcelona on Sunday, October 16.
He has five goals and one assist in 10 games across competitions this campaign. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has backed him to win the ultimate individual prize in football.
Speaking after the win against the Catalan giants at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ancelotti said (h/t Eurosport):
“He played a good game, he scored a goal, he was important in the game. Tomorrow hopefully he can win the Ballon d’Or and we are going to congratulate him because a little bit of that Ballon is also ours.”
Even though it is strictly an award for individuals, it is safe to say that collective success with the club and national team plays a part in it. Madrid, in that regard, won the La Liga and Champions League last season.