Five African players shortlisted for 2019 Ballon d’Or

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Algeria's Riyad Mahrez celebrates with the trophy during the award ceremony after Algeria defeated Senegal in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final soccer match at the Cairo International Stadium, in Cairo, Egypt, on 19 July 2019. (Photo by Islam Safwat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (left) and Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Group E match at Anfield, Liverpool. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

Five African footballers were on Monday named in the 30-man shortlist for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.

The five are Mohamed Salah of Egypt, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon, Riyad Mahrez of Algeria and Senegalese duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Sadio Mane.

All five players were instrumental figures for their clubs and/or countries over the past year.

Salah won the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup with Liverpool, who were runners-up in the Premier League.

Mane, who also won similar honors at Liverpool, and Koulibaly were part of the Senegal team that finished second at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Koulibaly also helped Italian club Napoli finish as runners-up in Italy.

Mahrez won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria and a domestic treble with Manchester City.

Aubameyang helped Arsenal reach the final of the Europa League and shared the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2018/2019 season with Salah and Mane.

The award is now given for the best player in the world. The award previously focused on Europe-based players.

The winner of the Ballon d’Or will be announced at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on December 2.

In another category, 20-year-old Villarreal and Nigeria winger Samuel Chukwueze was shortlisted for the Kopa Trophy.

The trophy is awarded to the best performing player who is under the age of 21 and is selected by former Ballon d’Or winners. Individuals who play outside Europe are eligible to win the trophy.

Chukwueze shone for the Super Eagles during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where he scored his first international goal.

Chukwueze chose to play for the senior men’s team in the continental showpiece instead of the junior team at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

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