Mane saddened by lack of African Ballon d'Or winners

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Sadio Mane believes an African winner of the Ballon d'Or is overdue, with both he and Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah seemingly in the frame ahead of Saturday's Champions League final.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award since 2008, with Luka Modric the only player to break their hegemony in the World Cup year of 2018.

France Football announced changes to the voting process in March, moving to align with the European club season and reducing the number of judges to make wins "much more demanding".

George Weah was the first and only African winner of the prestigious individual prize in 1995, but Mane appears to be in contention after enjoying a fine season with Liverpool and winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.

"It's true. If you guys say it, what can I say myself? Which is sad," Mane said of the lack of African recognition.

"For me, it would be even more special to have another bonus, which is the Ballon d'Or, and I would be the most happy player in the world.

"This cup, the Africa Cup of Nations, is one of the biggest for myself, it is the biggest trophy I have won in my life, and for an African player not to have won the Ballon d'Or since George Weah is sad for sure.

"Winning the Champions League is special. I have a chance to play it again, and we will do everything we can to win it, and then we will see what happens with the Ballon d'Or."

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