Samuel Eto’o has said that there would be “no explanation” for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang not being in the top five in the running for the Ballon d’Or.

Virgil van Dijk is one of the current favourites – along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – to win this year’s prize after a stellar year in which he picked up a Champions League winners’ medal along with several other personal accolades.

Speaking to RFI, however, Eto’o said that Salah and Mane – who scored a joint-best 22 Premier League goals for Liverpool last term as well as winning the Champions League – and Aubameyang, who also netted 22 league goals and fired Arsenal to the Europa League final, should be among the top five contenders.

“We are only good to denigrate our own brothers. We are not respected,” the 38-year-old said. “It’s a fact. I hope I’m wrong, but the next Ballon d’Or will be neither Mane nor Salah.

“There is no explanation that Mane, Salah or Aubameyang, the top three scorers of the Premier League last season may not even be among the top five.

“Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both very strong, but this season who won the Champions League? It’s Mane and Salah.”

Mane and Salah have both made strong starts to the Premier League season, with the Egyptian netting two goals and setting up three others and Mane scoring twice and laying on one.


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