Sadio Mane admits he is still way behind the “monsters” that are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Liverpool forward has been nominated on the 30-man 2019 Ballon d’Or shortlist alongside the Barcelona and Juventus attackers, but feels he is still far away from becoming as good as the pair.
Apart from Real Madrid’s Luka Modric claiming the award in 2018, it has been either Messi or Ronaldo that has won the prestigious honour since 2008.
The duo have each won the prize five teams, and Mane believes that he is still some way away from achieving their level of success.
“These players [Messi and Ronaldo] are monsters. I think that I am still far away from them,” Mane told L’Equipe du Soir.
“As I have said, I am going to do everything I can to come a little closer to them.”
The Liverpool winger has been heaped with praise for his performances this season, and also received Lionel Messi’s top vote in The Best FIFA Player of the Year earlier this year.
The Argentine went on to win the award, but Mane has now turned his attentions to his “dream” nomination for the upcoming Ballon d’Or.
“Honestly, as I’ve said, it has always been a childhood dream of mine,” said Mane.
“The fact that I am listed as one of the nominees is due to the fruits of the work that I’ve been putting in for a long time. This is more of a dream than an obsession, I am at the service of the collective first and foremost.
“And if I am able to distinguish myself amongst this collective then of course, the Ballon d’Or, has always been my dream,” added Mane.
“And when a dream comes true, it is always exceptional.
“All of the Senegalese people, my friends, my family, would be so happy, I would be so happy.”
“I think as I have said it has always been a supplementary source of motivation for me. Eto’o, Drogba, they are legends in Africa and to hear what they are saying about me, it is always nice.”
Liverpool’s number 10 shared last season’s Premier League Golden Boot with fellow Africans Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with both Salah and Mane already on eight goals in all competitions for the current campaign.
After another stunning start to the season, Mane is confident that he can continue to thrive for the Reds.
“I think that I am modest enough. I still want to be at the top.
“I think I have a certain way of seeing things, living, that makes everyone around me proud. I think yes, I feel good like this, and others feel good like that.”