Sadio Mane had an ally in Lionel Messi after being ‘left with a bitter taste’ by Jurgen Klopp‘s decision to back Virgil van Dijk for last year’s Ballon d’Or.
According to France Football, the Senegel star was unhappy that his manager publicly called for Van Dijk to win the prestigious award.
Lionel Messi revealed Sadio Mane was his pick for the Ballon d’Or after winning the award
Mane finished fourth and was unhappy not to be backed by Jurgen Klopp, according to reports
The former Southampton winger excelled in the 2018-19 season with 26 goals to propel Liverpool towards a sixth Champions League success and almost the Premier League title.
But Van Dijk gathered the most personal acclaim, clinching the PFA Player of the Year award before almost beating Messi to the Ballon d’Or a few months later.
Klopp said back in December that it ‘would have been right’ if his towering centre-back had claimed the coveted individual prize.
However, Mane had one seriously powerful backer in Messi, who admitted after the glitzy ceremony that the Liverpool forward was his personal pick.
Virgil van Dijk finished second in last year’s Ballon d’Or and was backed by his boss Klopp
Liverpool winger Mane is wanted by Real Madrid in a huge £132million summer swoop
‘It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place,’ Messi told Canal+ after winning the accolade for a sixth time.
‘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 because he’s a player that I like.
‘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.’
Mane’s apparent unhappiness comes amid reported interest from Real Madrid, who are said to be willing to pay £132million for the winger.