The 2019 Ballon d’Or should not be awarded to five-time winners Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but to either Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or Virgil Van Dijk, according to Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard.
The former Chelsea star – and shortlist candidate for the award itself – stressed that each Reds player did enough last season to win the prestigious award. The trio have been nominated for the award following Liverpool’s Champions League title and second place Premier League league finish last season.
To the Le Parisien:
I would give it to a Liverpool player. Mane, Salah or Van Djik deserve it. If Sadio had won AFCON with Senegal, there would have been no debate. It would be beautiful if he won it. Or Momo [Salah], who is one of my friends. It would be a good thing for both African and English football.
To the same tune, Jurgen Klopp weighed in on which nominee from a 30-man shortlist deserves the award the most. And to no surprise, the 52-year-old manager is set on the notion that it is his undoubtable starting defender who deserves the golden ball, following a spectacular 2018/2019 campaign.
If you give the Ballon d’Or to the best player of this generation then you should give it always to Lionel Messi. That’s how it is. But if you give it to the best player of last season, then it was Virgil van Dijk.
I don’t know exactly how it will work but that is how I see it. The best player of all? That’s Lionel. Best player of last season? That’s Virgil. We will see.
The aforementioned trio aren’t the only Liverpool players on the ballot, however. Alisson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino also made the list, which features defending champions Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva.
A winner will be announced in Paris on December 2.