"AFCON is not viewed at in the same way as Euros or Copa America," says Sadio Mane
What's the story?
According to Sadio Mane, the Africa Cup Of Nations and African football, in general, are not viewed at in the same breath as the Copa America or the Euros.
The Senegalese superstar has spearheaded his country to the finals of the AFCON and as revealed by Ed Aarons from the Telegraph, he has expressed his displeasure at the perception of African football.
In case you didn't know...
The general perception from the media is that the quality of African football is not up to standard and Mane has urged for this pre-conceived notion to be stopped.
Mane was one of the key players as Liverpool sealed a historic sixth European Cup in Madrid, overcoming Spurs 2-0 in the final.
The Senegalese super-star has also led his country to the final of African football's biggest prize, as Senegal lock horns with Algeria in the final.
Mane has been tipped to be one of the leading contenders for the Ballon d'Or, world football's biggest individual honor and he could present himself as one of the leading contenders for the crown if he wins the AFCON final with Senegal.
The heart of the matter...
Speaking before the final, the winger has pointed out the fact that the AFCON is not viewed at in the same breath as other major international tournaments.
"I think it's not normal that the AFCON is not considered in the same way as the Copa America or the Euro. It's a cry of heart that we all have to do. It's a real shame. With all due respect, it must stop"
Mane has urged for this perception to be stopped immediately, in the hope of bringing some much-needed recognition for African football as Senegal look to win their maiden AFCON crown.
With Senegal one win away from AFCON glory, Sadio Mane could well become one of the leading contenders for the Ballon d'Or if they manage to overcome Algeria in the final.
Having already experienced Champions League glory with Liverpool this summer, Sadio Mane could cap off the summer of his life with African football's biggest crown, which could firmly put him in the Ballon d'Or fray alongside Lionel Messi, Alisson Becker, and Virgil van Dijk.