Sadio Mané of Senegal has finished second as the best African player at the Ballon D’Or 2022 awards. As expected, the winner and successor to Lionel Messi in 2021 was Real Madrid’s French centre-forward Karem Benzema. Sadio Mané was also honoured with the Socrates Prize for his great social commitment.
Liverpool-Ace Mo Salah in the Top 5
In addition to Sadio Mané, several other African players also made it into the top 30. Mané’s long-time Liverpool strike partner Mohamed Salah (Egypt) came in as the second-best African, as 5th. Chelsea attacker Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) finished 12th, one place ahead of goal scorer Sebastien Haller, who holds an Ivory Coast passport. Since his transfer from Ajax Amsterdam to Borussia Dortmund, however, Haller has not yet been able to play a game. He was out due to a testicular tumour
Alexia Putellas of FC Barcelona won the women’s title again. The Spaniard also prevailed in the preliminary round. The best African player in this ranking is the Nigerian Asisat Oshoaia, also from FC Barcelona. She finished in 16th place. In the goalkeeper category, two Africans made it into the top 10: Senegalese Edouard Mendy (Chelsea FC) was awarded 4th best goalkeeper, Moroccan Yassine Bounou (Sevilla FC) came 9th
Lots of talents with Nigerian Roots
In the other award ceremonies, such as the Kopa Trophy for the best young player, no players from the African continent were nominated. However, it was striking how many of the ten young professionals selected had African roots. Eduardo Camavinga (parents from Congo), Jamal Musiala (father from Nigeria), Bukayo Sako (parents from Nigeria), and Karim Adeyemi (father from Nigeria). In view of the missed qualification for the World Cup, Nigeria will certainly have watched with a tearful eye.
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