Sadio Mane snubbed the Ballon d'Or gala after finishing fourth this year, but he has now received support from winner Lionel Messi, who labelled the African's place in the final ranking "a shame", before explaining why he thought Mane was the best in 2019.
Click though the gallery above to see the top eight in the final 2019 Ballon d'Or ranking!
Messi beat Virgil van Dijk by the finest of margins, seven points to be exact, to claim a record-breaking sixth Golden Ball this week. The Argentine collected 686 points from 180 journalists from around the world, while the Dutchman received 679 votes.
Mane, meanwhile, ended up in fourth spot with 347 points, 129 points behind third-placed Cristiano Ronaldo.
As a consequence, the Liverpool winger did not travel to Paris for the gala – neither did Ronaldo nor Mohamed Salah, who came in fifth place – and his final position has now been questioned by Messi.
"It's a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place," Messi told Canal+.
"But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That's why it was difficult to choose a particular player.
"Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That's why I chose him.
"I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult."
Messi also backed Mane as his first choice for the 2019 The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year award, which is voted for by national team captains, coaches, journalists and fans.
The Argentine, though, lifted both individual trophies, in the process becoming the first player in history to win the Ballon d'Or six times.
Do you agree with Messi that Mane should have finished higher? Have your say in the comments section below.