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Former Barcelona star Eto’o highlights what Africa must do to win Ballon d’Or

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The continent is yet to produce a winner for the prestigious individual honour since George Weah claimed the prize in 1995

Africans need to believe in the talents produced across the continent and vote for them to win the Ballon d’Or, four-time African Player of the Year Samuel Eto’o has disclosed.

Former Liberia and PSG star George Weah stands as the only African to have won the global recognition, and the continent is yet to produce another winner since his triumph in 1995.

Eto’o is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players in history with credit to his successful career at both international and club levels.

Despite the several laurels in his cabinet, the former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker did not win the Ballon d’Or and he thinks Africa’s chances of winning it depends on its voters.

“It depends on the voters. There are some Africans who do not believe in the players of their continent, and this only happens in Africa,” Eto’o told AS.

“When we see players having a good season or not, they automatically win the votes of the continent to which they belong. We can make a difference in our continent, thinking carefully about what comes to us from abroad or that which is imposed on us.

“When you watch the matches of the leagues on foreign channels, you find that players are sold from other places and it is repeated that they are the best, and thus our journalists are convinced, despite the fact that the results are seen by everyone.”

The Cameroon legend acknowledged the brilliance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, however, he made a case for Liverpool’s Sadio Mane as a potential winner of the award.

He continued; “But looking over the recent past, then I always say that Messi has been the best player in the world over those years, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo. I think they belong to another planet.

“But despite everything, in recent years emerging players like Sadio Mane have stood out. Someone who made an amazing difference, won almost all the titles, scored goals in all tournaments, but the result was that he did not win the Ballon d’Or. Why?

“Because of those people who vote thinking that the best has a different meaning and that he may have to be of descent from another place that is not our continent. That’s why on many occasions we lost.”

Mane came fourth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or while Egypt‘s Mohamed Salah followed in the fifth place and Algeria‘s Riyad Mahrez settled for 10th position.

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