This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Samuel Eto’o has stated that a Liverpool player deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, but doesn’t think it will happen this year, per RFI, via Goal.
The frontrunners for this year’s Ballon d’Or appear to be Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk, but the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have all been on top form, and the former Barcelona man thinks they are deserving of a chance.
The ex-Cameroon international also hit similar heights as a player, winning back-to-back trebles with Barcelona and Inter Milan, but was similarly not recognised in the form of an award.
Speaking to RFI, as reported by Goal, he said: “I hope I’m wrong, but the next Ballon d’Or will be neither Mane nor Salah.
“There is no explanation that Mane, Salah or Aubameyang, the top three scorers of the Premier League last season may not even be among the top five.
“Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both very strong, but this season who won the Champions League? It’s Mane and Salah.”
The Liverpool pair combined for a total of 53 goals 18 assists last season, and have started this campaign in similar fashion, so it is possible that they could be candidates for the title if they continue to perform until December.
Mo Salah has looked destined to pick up the Ballon d’Or at some point since he burst onto the Premier League scene at Liverpool.
He had previously played for Chelsea before finding a goalscoring touch in Italy but at Anfield he has reached a level of consistency which ranks him alongside the world’s best, and his 74 goals in 110 games for the Reds show just how effective he’s been.
Last season saw a continuation of that, but the Egyptian now has the Champions League trophy to show for his efforts, and that achievement puts him ahead of Ballon d’Or rivals such as Messi or Ronaldo.
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The Barcelona forward reached his usual goalscoring heights with 51 goals in 50 appearances, including a magical free-kick in the Champions League semi-final, but it was Salah who reached the final and scored, and it is Salah who has been so valuable to Jurgen Klopp turning Liverpool into European conquerors.
He is therefore deserving of such an individual award as the Ballon d’Or, and if he continues his current goalscoring rate – three goals in four league games – then it would be quite a shock to see him miss out.