The 2019 Ballon d’Or award was rightfully honoured to Lionel Messi, for a record sixth time. Liverpool FC’s Virgil van Dijk was proving to be tough competition, receiving 679 points, just 7 short of Messi. Coming in fourth position Sadio Mané, received 347 points. However, there’s a strange speculation that the Senegalese’s popularity in the African continent costed his Liverpool teammate the top spot.
An interesting statement made by Australian broadcaster Optus Sport on their official website suggests that Mané received all his votes from Africa, where fans preferred the 27 year old Senegalese winger ahead of the Dutch center back.
The statement reads:
“Incredibly, Mane’s popularity in Africa, appears to have cost his teammate the Ballon d’Or.”
“Across the rest of the world, Van Dijk and Messi dominated the top two spots of almost every vote slip, but in the continent the Senegalese winger calls home, many opted to vote for him in second place ahead of the Dutchman.”
“Considering the tiny margin that decided the winner, had Africa casted their votes in line with the rest of the world, Van Dijk would have emerged victorious.”
Mané and van Dijk were both part of Klopp’s side that defeated Tottenham to lift the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League title in Wanda Metropolitano. Van Dijk, who was Man of the Match, was awarded the best defender of the season, and went onto win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season.