Former FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o has once again questioned Lionel Messi's latest Ballon d'Or triumph, saying an African superstar should have won it.
Click through the gallery above to see the top six in last year's Ballon d'Or ranking!
The 39-year-old, who now works as ambassador for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, spoke to AS during a promotional event recently, during which he explained that, while he has always been supportive of his former teammate, he feels Mane deserved the latest Golden Ball, laying the blame on African officials for not voting for their own continent's players.
"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 said.
"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 what 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.
"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 ended up in fourth place in the final 2019 Ballon d'Or ranking, while Messi lifted his sixth Golden Ball after beating Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to the prestigious accolade.
Do you think Mane deserved the 2019 Ballon d'Or? Have your say in the comments section below.