Lionel Messi has said it was “a shame” that Sadio Mané finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or.
The Barcelona star, who bagged the award for a record sixth time, also explained why he chose the Liverpool winger for the FIFA Best.
‘It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place,’ Messi told Canal+.
‘But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That’s why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane (for The Best award) because he’s a player that I like,’ he added.
Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the sixth time in his career in Paris on Monday, eclipsing Mane’s team-mate Virgil van Dijk to claim the gong. Cristiano Ronaldo was third, with Mane fourth and Mohamed Salah fifth.
‘Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That’s why I chose him.
‘I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult,’ the Argentine stressed.
Mane proved his credentials as one of the top five players in world football with a sublime performance in the 5-2 Merseyside derby win over Everton on Wednesday night.