An African journalist attended Jurgen Klopp’s press-conference today and was interested to hear how close Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are to the Ballon d’Or!
Klopp, never one for individual awards anyway, promised he’d try to bring our two forwards closer in consideration…
He also explained that African footballers are not different in terms of attributes to players from elsewhere (as the reporter insinuated), but that he was previously put off buying them because of the African Cup of Nations.
The competition used to be held during January and February, clashing with a key part of the English football schedule, but thankfully now has been moved to summer.
“African players are no different to footballers all over the world, I look for the football skills,” he began. “I admit, I had a problem, to be honest, with the AFCON in the winter – because we only sign very good players that play there for a long time and miss 5-6 decisive games. I didn’t like that. I am a big fan of the new decision to do it in the summer. It makes life easier and it will open the market for African players to play in the top leagues in world football. If we can help bring Mo and Sadio closer to the Balon D’Or, we will try.”
Klopp’s hit rate with Africans at Liverpool is pretty exceptional!
He did well to sign Joel Matip on a free, but got two ridiculous bargains with Mane and Salah, the latter of whom is undeniably world-class.
What’s more, he’s acquired Naby Keita, the Guinean who is arriving in the summer.
From what we’ve seen, the 22-year-old is going to be fairly incredible himself!