Lionel Messi has admitted that he was baffled by Sadio Mane's fourth-place finish in the 2019 Ballon d'Or rankings after an "exceptional" year with Liverpool.
Messi voted for Mane to win the FIFA Best award earlier this year, although it was the Barcelona’s talisman who ended up winning the prize.
In an interview with Canal+, Messi heaped praise on Mane, "It’s a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place. 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."
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