Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane sent Ballon d’Or warning amid Liverpool’s quadruple charge

George Weah has told Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane not to “obsess” over winning the Ballon d’Or.

Weah, who remains the only African player to win the Ballon d’Or, believes the Liverpool stars should focus on their own performances and individual honours will follow. Mane and Salah both came close to winning the coveted prize in 2019, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the vote. Lionel Messi is the current holder of the award.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are aiming to become the first English club in history to win the quadruple this season. They’ve already lifted the EFL Cup and have reached the final of the FA Cup. They’ve also qualified for the last four of the Champions League and will face Villarreal.

In the Premier League, the Reds are currently second – one point behind leaders and champions Manchester City. Both teams have just six league games remaining.

Liverpool’s quadruple bid may depend on the form of Salah and Mane, as two have scored 36 Premier League goals between them this season. Salah is the top scorer in the competition with 22 goals and no one has provided more assists than him (12).

At international level, Mane has excelled. The Senegal talisman led his country to victory at the Africa Cup of Nations in February and qualification for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. Salah’s Egypt were on the losing end in both games against Mane’s side.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are expected to make the 30-man longlist for this year's Ballon d'Or
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are expected to make the 30-man longlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or

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Despite both players enjoying excellent campaigns, Weah – who won silverware at Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Chelsea – believes they should ignore the glamour of the Ballon d’Or and continue trying to win trophies for Liverpool.

“They shouldn’t obsess over the Ballon d’Or, rather they should focus on their performances and try to improve more,” Weah told Canal+. “[Salah and Mane should not] put unnecessary pressure on themselves. I always worked hard to get my family out of poverty, that’s how I was awarded the Ballon d’Or.”

Salah admitted he was shocked at finishing seventh in last year’s Ballon d’Or during an interview with Egyptian TV channel DMC last month. The 29-year-old was expected to finish a lot higher in the vote. Mane was not longlisted for the award in 2021.

“It shocked me [not doing finishing higher], but there’s nothing I can say,” admitted Salah. “No one in the world expected that I would be seventh, but that’s what happened.”

On his omission from the FIFPRO Men’s World 11, Salah added: “I do not feel the conspiracy theory, but there may be inaccurate choices, and there are many countries which aren’t popular with football knowledge and so far from it.

“I do not know their choices based on what, but I do not believe in the conspiracy theory. I don’t have the feeling that there is anything personal against me specifically in the FIFA choices, but this is the reality we are dealing with.”

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