Salah, Mane, Mendy: The most valuable African XI in world football

Liverpool's Salah and Mane.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are firmly in the Ballon d’Or hunt.

With France Football having adjusted the rules for their iconic prize, the golden football will now garland the best-performing player of the 2021/22 campaign as opposed to 2022 as a whole.

In other words, we’re just days away from having an exhaustive record of each player’s candidacy to be crowned the best male footballer in the world.

Mane and Salah shine in 2021/22

And there’s a good chance that an African player will be getting their hands on the prize with both Salah and Mane amongst the favourites to lift the Ballon d’Or trophy above their heads.

While Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski might have something to say about that, the Liverpool duo are most certainly in the hunt to win Africa’s second Ballon d’Or crown.

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It’s staggering to think that for all the remarkable talents to have played for an African national team that George Weah remains the only recipient from the continent having bagged the 1995 prize.

Yet, with Mane having won the Africa Cup of Nations and Liverpool closing in on a cup treble, don’t be surprised if Weah no longer stands alone in the history books.

Liverpool to win the Champions League (Football Terrace)

African stars of 2022

However, Salah and Mane aren’t the only African players to have shone this season because you don’t have to be in Ballon d’Or contention to have enjoyed an impressive run of form.

From the rising star of Edmond Tapsoba to the midfield magnificence of Franck Kessie, it takes little to no effort at all to build a stunning XI based purely upon players hailing from Africa.

And it just so happens that many of these top players command eye-watering transfer fees with any potential sale for superstars like Salah and Mane always destined to burn holes in wallets.

Salah and Mane celebrate.
Soccer Football – Champions League – Semi Final – First Leg – Liverpool v Villarreal – Anfield, Liverpool, Britain – April 27, 2022 Liverpool’s Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their second goal with Mohamed Salah Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

The most valued African XI

So, bearing all of that in mind, we thought that it only made sense to celebrate all the fantastic African players to have shone in 2021/22 by compiling the continent’s most valuable line-up.

Using the data over at Transfermarkt, we’ve collated the XI of African players who are estimated to command the highest transfer fees in the men’s game – and the result is simply spectacular.

With the Ballon d’Or-contending duo leading the line and no end of quality backing them up in defence and midfield, be sure to check out the most valuable African XI in world football down below:

GK: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea and Senegal) – €32.00 million

Chelsea's Mendy playing for Senegal.
Soccer Football – Africa Cup of Nations – Final – Senegal v Egypt – Olembe Stadium, Yaounde, Cameroon – February 6, 2022 Senegal’s Edouard Mendy celebrates after saving a penalty in the shoot-out REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

RB: Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain and Morocco) – €70.00 million

CB: Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli and Senegal) – €45.00 million

CB: Edmond Tapsoba (Bayer Leverkusen and Burkina Faso) – €40.00 million

Soccer Football – Bundesliga – Bayer Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt – BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany – May 2, 2022 Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba in action with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Ragnar Ache REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

LB: Abdou Diallo (Paris Saint-Germain and Senegal) – €22.00 million

CM: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City and Nigeria) – €60.00 million

CM: Thomas Partey (Arsenal and Ghana) – €40.00 million

CM: Franck Kessie (AC Milan and Ivory Coast) – €45.00 million

Kessie on the ball for AC Milan.
Soccer Football – Serie A – AC Milan v Bologna – San Siro, Milan, Italy – April 4, 2022 AC Milan’s Franck Kessie in action REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt) – €100.00 million

ST: Victor Osimhen (Napoli and Nigeria) – €60.00 million

LW: Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal) – €80.00 million

Mane scores for Liverpool.
Soccer Football – Premier League – Liverpool v Leeds United – Anfield, Liverpool, Britain – February 23, 2022 Liverpool’s Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their fifth goal REUTERS/Peter Powell EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

A stunning line-up

That team would cause some serious, serious damage in the Champions League.

With a combined total of £594 million in transfer valuations, the incredible line-up is an emphatic demonstration of just how much quality the African continent is continuing to produce in men’s football.

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There are so many half-baked and discriminatory stereotypes about African football that do such a disservice to all the talent, brilliance and intelligence that it brings to the beautiful game.

And you needn’t look any further than the most valuable XI drawn up by Transfermarkt’s data because you can rest assured that it would give any European or South American line-up a run for its money.

PSG's Hakimi gesturing.
Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Brest v Paris St Germain – Stade Francis-Le Ble, Brest, France – August 20, 2021. Paris St Germain’s Achraf Hakimi gestures during the match REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

After all, it’s not from without the realms of possibility that two out of three members of the front line could be competing for Ballon d’Or glory later this year – and boy do they deserve it.

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