Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has picked Liverpool forward Sadio Mane as the “outstanding” player for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
The nominees for this year’s award presented will be disclosed on Monday, and the final winner will be announced on December 2 in Paris.
Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo have been tipped as favourites for the accolade but Mane’s recent form draws him into the conversation, after his goalscoring abilities guided Liverpool to win the Uefa Champions League in June and also helped them finish second in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign.
When quizzed about his favourite candidate who could succeed Real Madrid’s Luka Modric for the 2019 Ballon d’Or, Wenger was quick to single out the Senegal international, who finished as the joint-top scorer in the English top-flight last season for his braveness and efficiency.
Arsene Wenger names his 2019 #BallonDor winner!
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) October 18, 2019
“Mane was the outstanding character,” Wenger told BeIN Sports.
“I would say – because he is a fighter… and efficient. He’s not scared of anybody. At the moment, he deserves huge credit.”
So far this season, Mane has banged in eight goals across all competitions, including five efforts in eight Premier League matches.