Liverpool superstars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both missed out on the FIFA Player of the Year award to Lionel Messi, and the African duo are the latest from the continent to be beaten to the prestigious title over the years. Here are 14 African footballers who were overlooked for the award.
Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o recently claimed that both Mane and Salah deserved to win the award after the former Indomitable Lions star himself was snubbed for the honour on numerous occasions throughout his career.
Eto’o was nominated for the award six times but only once ended in the top three, finishing third behind Frank Lampard and former FC Barcelona teammate Ronaldinho in 2005.
Didier Drogba is another former African superstar who was regularly nominated for the award, with Ivory Coast's all-time leading goalscorer featuring in FIFA’s list seven times.
Drogba, who enjoyed his most successful years with Premier Leaue side Chelsea, peaked at fourth-place in the voting in 2007 and made the top 10 on five more occasions.
George Weah, who in 1995 became the first, and to date only, African player to have won the award, was overlooked the following year after the emergence of Brazilian legend Ronaldo and ended second in the voting.
Other African stars to have missed out include former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien and current Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez, and you can view the full list by scrolling through the gallery above!
Note: Award includes FIFA World Player of the Year (1991-2009), FIFA Ballon d’Or (2010-15) and FIFA Men’s Player of the Year (2016-present).
Do you think Mane or Salah should have won the award, or is Messi deserving of the title this year? Let us have your thoughts by commenting in the section below.