Senegal star Sadio Mane has become only the second African footballer to finish in the top three of the Ballon d’Or awards.
The Bayern Bayern Munich forward finished second in the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards behind winner Karim Benzema, while Kevin De Bruyne came third.
Mane’s achievement sees him enter the history books as only the second player after George Oppong Weah to make the top three of France Football’s flagship gong.
Weah, who starred for Liberia and AC Milan, was crowned Ballon d’Or winner in 1995 and remains the only African to have won the prestigious individual award since its inception.
In the last 27 years, though, no player from the continent had come any close, but that changed during Monday’s colourful ceremony.
Mane’s second-place finish was made possible by his imperious form for Liverpool last season, where his goals helped the Reds to win the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, as well as reach the final of the UEFA Champions League.
The 30-year-old also played an instrumental role as Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time in January.
Despite not winning the Ballon d’Or, Mane became the first-ever recipient of the Socrates Award in recognition of his philanthropy and other social activities he has undertaken in his home country.
In 2020, the footballer donated 30 million FCFA (almost 45,000 euros) to help fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Senegal.
Last year, he also handed over a hospital he built in his hometown of Bambaly to the Senegalese government.
“Like you said, sometimes I’m a bit shy when it comes to talking about it, but I’m really happy to do what I can for our people and to make things better,” Mane said after receiving the Socrates Award.