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Jose Mourinho agreed with Jurgen Klopp after comment ‘upset’ Sadio Mane at Liverpool

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Sadio Mane missed out on the 2020 Ballon d’Or but was seemingly more frustrated by the fact that his then-manager Jurgen Klopp issued his support to a Liverpool team-mate rather than him.

Back in 2019, Jurgen Klopp risked upsetting one of his main men at Liverpool in Sadio Mane when he claimed Virgil van Dijk deserved to win the Ballon d’Or.

That year’s edition of the most prestigious individual award saw three of the top five most voted-for players represent the Reds in Van Dijk, Mane and Mohamed Salah. In the end, all of them lost out, with football icon Lionel Messi winning the prize for what was then the sixth time in his illustrious career.

However, Klopp made his feelings clear on the matter and went public with his opinion on who should have won. Speaking in December 2019, he claimed: “Things like this are decisions made by journalists. I see it slightly different and a lot of people see it slightly different but that’s absolutely no problem.

“Lionel Messi, I’ve said probably 500,000 times in my life already, is probably the best player I saw in my lifetime. Very early in my life I saw Franz Beckenbauer and Diego Maradona but I’ve seen Lionel Messi more.

“I don’t know how the others would have played nowadays – probably exceptional – but Lionel Messi is here now and he has won it six times and Cristiano [Ronaldo] five times but last season I cannot remember a more impressive season from a defender ever. Honestly. So it would have been right if Virg won it.”

According to France Football, the public support of Van Dijk from Klopp irked Mane, who felt he was inclined to receive the same treatment. However, Klopp wasn’t alone in his stance that the Netherlands international was worthy of winning.

“I think Van Dijk, why not a defender?” Mourinho told Russia Today when asked who should win the gong in the build-up to the awards night.

“He didn’t win the Premier League in spite of being the best player, or considered the best player, but if Holland manage to go to Portugal and win [the Nations League] – a small trophy, but a trophy – that can play [a role].”

Mourinho didn’t reserve his praise for just Van Dijk, waxing lyrical about the influence of both of the other Liverpool nominees. He added: “I think Salah was better last season than this season, but [he was a] European champion. Mane – fantastic all season, European champion and I think Senegal is qualified for the final phase.”

Mane left Liverpool two years later for the bright lights of Bayern Munich, only to fail at the Allianz and join Saudi side Al-Nassr a year later. Van Dijk and Salah remain integral parts of the Liverpool line-up to this day.

 

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