Sadio Mane is the new Cristiano Ronaldo, says Danny Blind

Liverpool FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

You know you’re good when Lionel Messi is your biggest fan.

After picking up his sixth Ballon d’Or award last week, Messi’s attentions turned to Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

Mane may have shared the Premier League Golden Boot and helped Liverpool to Champions League glory last season but he had to settle for fourth place in the Ballon d’Or rankings.

"It's a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place,” the Argentine admitted.

"But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That's why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane because he's a player that I like.

"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."   

But Mane finishing fourth at the Ballon d’Or ceremony might just be the start for the Senegalese superstar.

The 27-year-old is in the form of his life and with the Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi era coming to an end, he could pick up the mantle of the best player in world football.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League

And despite finishing one position behind 34-year-old Ronaldo, one man thinks Mane is on the brink of replacing the Juventus man.

“Sadio Mane is the new Ronaldo in world football,” former Holland and Ajax defender Danny Blind said.

“Do you know why Messi voted for Mane? Because great players recognise other great players.

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“I don’t compare Mane to Messi. I think Sadio is much more like Cristiano Ronaldo in his very best years. Ronaldo was so physically and mentally strong.

“Sadio is like a massive rock of granite and yet so dynamic at the same time – just like Ronaldo was for so many years.

“It is right that people are finally taking notice of Mane as an incredibly special player.

“Sadio deserves to be recognised alongside the best attacker in the world, Messi. Now Mane must win as many trophies as he can, starting with the Premier League title.”

Liverpool FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Mane will be expecting to lift the Premier League trophy come May. His Liverpool side are currently 14 points clear of Manchester City, with Leicester their nearest challengers 11 points behind.

And with Mane is this kind of form, you’d be a fool to bet against him and Liverpool from breaking their Premier League curse.

The Ronaldo/Messi era is coming to an end.

It’s time for the Mane/Messi era.

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