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…
Daley Blind has told The Mirror that Sadio Mane is the new Cristiano Ronaldo of football.
Now, the former Manchester United player has said that the 27-year-old is the Portugal star’s successor on the global stage. He said: “Sadio Mane is the new Ronaldo in world football.
“As an attacking player he is absolutely fantastic. I can go through all his qualities – and he is superb in every aspect.
“He can score with his left foot, right foot and with sensational headers.
“He can give brilliant assists, he is an incredible athlete, and I could go on even more!
“Mane is the super modern player. If you look at his skills, that is one great thing, but he is able to combine that with astonishing sprints right throughout the game.”
There is no doubt that Mane is in fantastic form, and he is truly becoming a world star. There is a reason why he was so high up the rankings for the prestigious individual award, of course, and this term he has already hit the ground running with nine goals and four assists in his first 14 league starts.
However, to compare him to Ronaldo is way too far. This term, the former Southampton man is arguably having his best season in English football, with him averaging a WhoScored rating of 7.64 so far in the Premier League. For context, the form of the former Real Madrid man is being questioned, yet he has a rating of 7.54 in Serie A. In the previous 10 seasons, he has picked up a better rating than the Liverpool winger.
In most of the different areas the Netherlands international mentioned, Ronaldo still leads the way. This term, he has won more aerial duels per game – 1.5 to 1.1 – for example. Whilst Mane may have more goals with his left foot – three to one – the 34-year-old has regularly managed five per season with his weaker foot. That is something Mane has managed just once.
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Yes, the ex-RB Salzburg is one of the best players on the planet right now. But it is still hard to argue he is the new Ronaldo. And, considering the way the Portugal international has performed throughout his career, it is unlikely Mane ever will surpass him, or even begin to emulate him. Perhaps Blind should calm down a little.
In other news, Lionel Messi has reserved special praise for one Liverpool star.