Liverpool pair Sadio Mane and Phillipe Coutinho have been shortlisted for this year’s Ballon d’Or alongside 28 other nominees which sees them compete for the World’s best individual prize.
France Football magazine has been releasing the names of five players throughout the day and Coutinho and Mane found themselves featuring alongside former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
Liverpool’s star Brazilian enjoyed his best goalscoring season as a Reds player last campaign after finding the net 14 times in 36 appearances which even caught the attention of Spanish giants Barcelona who would fight to lure Coutinho away from Anfield through the entirety of the Summer transfer window.
Mane also enjoyed a fantastic season, his first at Anfied, with his goals helping propel the club into the top four.
Ronaldo who has won the award four times before is the favourite to take the honour this time round which would see him level with Messi with a record-breaking five awards.
PFA Player of the year Ngolo Kante also see’s his name on the list alongside the likes of Harry Kane, David DeGea and Kevin De Bruyne who also make the 30 man shortlist.
Real Madrid Captain Sergio Ramos, Athletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblek and Roma’s Eden Dzeko are also listed while earlier in the day the World’s most expensive player Neymar was featured. Other nominees include Luka Modric, Paolo Dybala, Marcelo and Dries Mertens.
Reds playmaker deserves to be amongst the World’s elite
Liverpool enjoyed a remarkable campaign last season which saw a long-awaited return to Europe for Jurgen Klopp and his team with a total of 76 points which saw them finish above the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
Coutinho’s fine form also resulted in a brief love affair with Barcelona that almost saw the Brazilian leave Anfield as the Red’s magician even-handed in a transfer request to force a move with the Catalans.
However, Coutinho did return to Merseyside and his commitments have since cannot be questioned as his fine form has been the difference for the Reds in recent weeks. His first appearance this season came as a sub against Sevilla in the Champions League with his first goal coming at the King Power Stadium with a superb free kick.
With three goals in the space of seven days including a thunderous strike against his former boss Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United last Sunday it’s no doubt Liverpool did the right thing in holding strong to keep the Brazilians services at Anfield as he continues to prove he has the ability to be up there with the very best.
Coutinho will return from International duty after successfully seeing Brazil to this summer’s World Cup in Russia and will immediately turn his attention to Liverpool’s fixture with bitter rivals Manchester United in a Saturday midday title clash.