Senegalese striker Sadio Mané, one of the big disappointments of the 2019 Ballon d’Or, consoled himself Tuesday with the title of best African player of 2019 awarded during a ceremony in Hurghada (Egypt).
The Liverpool player (27) is ahead of his Egyptian teammate Mohammed Salah, who had won the two previous editions, and the Algerian Riyad Mahrez, captain and one of the main architects of the Fennecs’ victory in the African Cup nations. It’s the first time Mané has won this award. The last sacred Senegalese was El-Hadji Diouf in 2002.
Fourth in the Ballon d’Or ranking, won for the 6th time by the Argentinian Lionel Messi, Sadio Mané had a successful year both with the Reds (victories in the Champions League and at the Club World Cup), as well as his selection , beaten in the CAN final. He also finished as Premier League goal scorer with 22 goals.
Riyad Mahrez, 28, will be able to console himself a little with the prize for the best goal of the year, for his free kick in the skylight which offered qualification for the CAN final in Algeria in the very last moments of the match against Nigeria. His country was also named best African team of the year, and his coach, Djamel Belmadi, was also awarded.
Mahrez is however the only Algerian player in the African typical team of the year, which includes Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Senegalese PSG Idrissa Gueye or Cameroon and Liverpool defender Joël Matip.
Nigerian Asisat Oshoala was crowned best African player. The Barcelona striker reached the Champions League final and helped Nigeria get out of the pools at the 2019 World Cup in France, which ended in elimination in the round of 16. The second African team to leave the group, Cameroon, won the prize for the best team of the year.