Jurgen Klopp tells Sadio Mane what he needs to do beat Benzema to Ballon d’Or
Liverpool need to win the Champions League if Sadio Mane wants to beat Karim Benzema to the Ballon d'Or.
That is according to Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, who has spoken about the task facing Mane if he wants to take home the prestigious award for the first time. The Senegalese star is among the leading contenders for the prized individual accolade and improved his chances of scooping the gong with another goal in midweek.
Mane brought up 20 goals for the season in all competitions with the second in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old finished fourth in the Ballon d'Or in 2019 as Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG forward Lionel Messi fought it out for the number one spot. The two men have shared 12 of the last 13 awards.
But with both enduring difficult seasons by their own high standards, it looks like a different name could be on the trophy when it is dished out in October.
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Liverpool ace Mane is among the favourites, along with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who has 41 goals in 41 games so far this season. Klopp believes the destination of the Ballon d'Or could rest on whether his side can win the Champions League next month.
"Wow! He plays an outstanding season, Sadio is an outstanding player," Klopp replied when asked if Mane deserves to win the 2022 Ballon d'Or. "I have nothing to do with the Ballon d'Or nomination and all these kind of things, I don't understand it really 100 per cent.
"He is world-class and played again a really good game for us. I don’t know exactly how you come to that question now, the season is not even over. Historically you have to win something, I think, to win the Ballon d'Or most of the time.
"It was like this, that if you are not Messi or Ronaldo you have to win probably the Champions League, which we didn't do yet so give us a few more weeks and then we will see where we end up. Sadio wants to contribute, Sadio wants to help the team and that's what I love most of all."
Team-mate Mohamed Salah is also in the mix, having finished seventh in 2021. While Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne and PSG whizz kid Kylian Mbappe are also high up in the betting.
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