Liverpool’s Senegalese forward Sadio Mane has said it was a “great compliment” to be Lionel Messi’s first pick for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
The 27-year-old has been prolific for Liverpool since he signed from Southampton in June 2016, scoring 50 goals in 100 Premier League games for the Reds.
Mane shared last season’s golden boot with fellow African stars Salah and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Other than the Champions League win with Liverpool, the Senegalese also led his side to second place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Messi emerged as the winner of the Best FIFA Men’s Player award last month, with Mane’s teammate Virgil van Dijk coming second. The Senegalese star ranked fifth behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
After the awards, it was revealed that Messi had voted for Mane ahead of Ronaldo and Frenkie de Jong.
“It’s a great compliment when Messi votes for you,” Mane said in an interview with The Sunday Times.
“If you look at where I’ve come from, it shows I’ve come quite far. Without being for a long time at an academy, I got here.
“All I can say [to kids] is to keep working hard and go for your dream.”
Mane has begun the 2019/20 season in superb fashion, scoring 8 goals in 11 games for Liverpool so far. His 5 goals in 8 Premier League games have helped give the Reds a perfect start to their title chase. Mane and co top the PL table with 24 points, having won all their games.
(With input from Sunday Times)