Lionel Messi has said it is unfair Liverpool forward Sadio Mane did not finish higher than fourth in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Barcelona’s number 10 won the award for a record sixth time ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo, who remains stuck on five Ballon d’Or trophies.
However, Messi, who voted for Mane in FIFA’s Best award, thinks the Senegal international was unlucky not to break into the top three after a “sensational” season.
“It’s unfair to see Mane finish in fourth place,” Messi told Canal+.
“But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane because he’s a player that I like.
“Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That’s why I chose him. I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult.” Messi said.
Mane has had a great 12 months for Liverpool, playing a vital role in last season’s Champions League win and helping the team to a club-record 31 games unbeaten in the league.