OH MY WORD! THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN WHERE TWO AFRICAN FOOTBALLERS ARE SHORTLISTED FOR THIS AWARD.
Alright this definitely has to be the sweetest news since the invention of cotton candy –forgive the kid in me but this trend has got me jumping in excitement. Every true African soccer fan would surely share my joy unless you have a problem with other people making progress. It doesn’t come around very often that an African footballer let alone two, are shortlisted for the prestigious annual Ballon D’or. The recent 30 man nominee list for the award sees the entrance of Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Mohammed Salah (Egypt). Although the award is being tipped for favourites like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionell Messi, Antonio Griezmann, or Luka Modric to clench the award but there’s hope for Africa.
The world is set to see the current award holder Cristiano Ronaldo (5 times Ballon D’or winner) either relinquish or retain the title. He also is the oldest player shortlisted as he is 33 years old. I have my money on him relinquishing the title as I am hopeful it will shift to one of the two African footballers nominated this year- I believe in miracles. I am sure a large number of people would have their reservations as to why the title holder will retain it but we will reserve that for another article.
Here is the Full list of Men’s nominees for the Award
• Sergio Aguero (Manchester City, Argentina)
• Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, Wales)
• Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
• Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain, Uruguay)
• Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, Belgium)
• Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, Portugal)
• Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)
• Roberto Firmino (Liverpool, Brazil)
• Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid, Uruguay)
• Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid, France)
• Eden Hazard (Chelsea, Belgium)
• Isco (Real Madrid, Spain)
• Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur, England)
• N’Golo Kante (Chelsea, France)
• Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur, France)
• Mario Mandzukic (Juventus, Croatia)
• Sadio Mane (Liverpool, Senegal)
• Marcelo (Real Madrid, Brazil)
• Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
• Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina)
• Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia)
• Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil)
• Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid, Slovenia)
• Paul Pogba (Manchester United, France)
• Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona, Croatia)
• Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain)
• Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt)
• Luis Suarez (Barcelona, Uruguay)
• Raphael Varane (Real Madrid, France)
French winger with African decent; Kylian Mbappe sets record as he becomes the first footballer under the age of 20 to be nominated for the award twice in a row. I guess there’s something cooking in the African blood stream this season. Although Africa has seen the rise of giants like Didier Drogba (Cote d’ivore), Samuel Eto (Cameroon), Yaya Toure (Cote d’ivore), Kanu Nwankwo (Nigeria), and Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria), who all at some point could have clenched the award but didn’t, we are yet to see an African attain this feat.
Leave us a comment if you TINK any of these two African players would make it to the final 3 and which one of them would most likely lift the trophy.