Lyon's Islam Slimani has given his backing to Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
Salah is on the 30-man shortlist for the individual award, with the winner announced on November 29.
If Salah wins he would become the second African player to lift the prize after former Monaco, Paris-Saint Germain and AC Milan forward George Weah did so in 1995.
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However, Salah faces stiff competition from PSG and Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski.
“God willing, why not,” said former Leicester striker Slimani when asked about Salah’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or.
“He (Salah) is an Arab player like us and represents Arabs everywhere. It is an honour for us Arabs to have an Arab player that is a Ballon d'Or nominee if it's him or Riyad Mahrez. The most important is that he represents Arabs and the Muslim world."
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Salah has been in stunning form for Liverpool this season with 10 goals and seven assists in 11 Premier League matches.
His recent hat-trick against Liverpool saw him move ahead of former Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba as the top-scoring African player in Premier League history.
However, Salah’s lack of silverware over the past year could count against him when it comes to the Ballon d’Or.
Messi led Argentina to their first Copa America title in 28 years while Lewandowski has won silverware with Bayern and was named FIFA Best Men’s Player in 2020, only to miss out on a shot at the Ballon d’Or as the award was cancelled due to the pandemic.
WHO ARE THE BOOKMAKERS' FAVOURITE TO WIN?
- Lionel Messi 1/2
- Robert Lewandowski 3/1
- Mohamed Salah 25/1
- Jorginho 33/1
- Karim Benzema 33/1
- Gianluigi Donnarumma 66/1
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