Former Senegal international and Liverpool winger, El Hadji Diouf says Paris Saint-Germain’s enterprising young forward Kylian Mbappe has the potential to win at least five Ballon d’Or awards in his career, but will only start winning if he leaves French Ligue 1 and join a big club in a bigger European League.
Ballon d’Or organisers have published a nominees list of 30 players for the 2019 edition from which a three-man shortlist will emerge ahead of the award ceremony.
Mbappe – the French Ligue 1 highest goal scorer last season with 33 goals, has been named in the 30-man nominees list. He emerged fourth in the 2018 Ballon d’Or behind winner Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann.
Diouf believes that Mbappe stands no chance of winning the 2019 edition at the expense of the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, among others who play for big clubs in bigger European leagues.
Diouf is tipping Messi, Van Dijk and Mane to make the top three shortlist for the award, while urging Mbappe to move away from Ligue 1 for a better recognition of his sterling performances.
“I think Sadio Mane had a better year than Kylian Mbappe,” Diouf told Le Parisien.
“He deserves the Ballon d’Or more from a personal and collective point of view.
“We cannot compare Ligue 1 and the Premier League. For me, it would be Messi, van Dijk and Mane, because of the league where they evolve.
“You know that to win the Ballon d’Or, you have to leave France.”
Diouf continued: “The only player who managed to win it by being in Ligue 1 is Jean-Pierre Papin. And he played in a Marseille team that reached the final of the Champions League [the 1990-91
“You can lose the final and win the Ballon d’Or, but you cannot if you are eliminated in the Round of 16.
“He [Mbappe] can win the Ballon d’Or at least five times, because he is so young and has talent Diouf said. But he has to go to an institution.”
The men and women Ballon d’Or winners are voted for by 176 football journalists selected from around the world. Each journalist nominates five players in order of preference. First choice is rated 6 points, second choice 4 points, third 3 points, fourth 2 points and fifth one point.
The 30 Nominees For 2019 Ballon d’Or Award
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Sergio Aguero (Man City)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Bernardo Silva (Man City)
Heung-min Son (Tottenham)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)
Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)
Riyad Mahrez (Man City
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Raheem Sterling (Man City