Think you’re having a good 2019? Well, Sadio Mane is probably having a better one.
The loveable winger has risen through his career at a rapid rate and having kissed goodbye to Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton, he is now a bona fide Ballon d’Or contender.
Nobody could have predicted his trajectory when he first arrived at Liverpool, but every supporter will tell you that his role at Anfield is simply unprecedented.
Although Mane has been delivering the goods on Merseyside for three seasons now, there’s no denying that his latest campaign – and particularly the last seven months – have been the finest.
Mane has scored 16 goals in this calendar year alone, as well as two assists along the way, and was able to secure a share of the Premier League Golden Boot.
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Golden Boot winner
Despite being unable to overtake Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mane was the only player to achieve 22 goals in the competition without any of them being penalties.
Then, the 27-year-old would go on to finish the season with one of the most prestigious trophies in world football – the Champions League.
There was to be no goal in the final this time around, but his impact in games with Bayern Munich and FC Porto had done the damage long before Madrid.
Africa Cup of Nations final
However, what has made Mane’s 2019 all the more special has been the developments with Senegal this summer in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Despite having never won the competition before, Senegal are just 90 minutes away from their crowning moment and, naturally, Mane has been their top scorer with three goals.
Finishing second in their group did little to harm their moral as, since then, they have moved their way past Uganda, Benin and now Tunisia on their way to the final.
There was no shortage of drama in the semi-final with a missed penalty from both teams, but Dylan Bronn’s own goal was enough to book Senegal’s place in Cairo.
It’s a game that could give Mane the opportunity to become the competition’s leading scorer and will also bolster his outside claim for the Ballon d’Or.
While Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk remain the frontrunners, victory in Egypt could elevate Mane even higher than his current odds of 28/1 as the fifth most likely player.
However, regardless of the result in five day’s time and the outcome of the Ballon d’Or, there can be no denying that Mane has taken 2019 by the horns.
We have no idea what his New Year’s resolutions were, but we’d bet a lot of money that he’s exceeded even his most optimistic of expectations. Take a bow, Sadio.
Do you think Senegal will win the Africa Cup of Nations? Have your say in the comments section below.