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Africa’s best so near yet so far to Ballon d’Or award

Just what will it take for an African player to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award?

That must be the question many keen followers of the game in the continent must be asking themselves after Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah fell short of bagging the 2019 Ballon d’Or on Monday night.

Argentine talisman Lionel Messi scooped a record sixth Ballon d’Or trophy at a glittering ceremony snubbed by his biggest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk came second with Ronaldo, Mane, and Salah settling for third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Not even a Uefa Champions League title, won at Messi’s expense, and a second place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations could help Mane tip Messi to this award.

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Messi won the La Liga crown last season and was also among the top scorers in Europe.

Now 32, Messi is the record holder of the crown after winning it six times including in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

And with that Africa’s long wait for a second-ever Ballon d’Or trophy continues.

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Retired Liberian striker, George Weah, who won the title in 1995 during his playing days with AC Milan, remains the only African to have won the title.

Weah, who had an illustrious career in Europe with Monaco (France), PSG (France), AC Milan (Italy), Chelsea (England), Manchester City (England) and Marseille (France), is now the president of Liberia.

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