The 2019 Ballon d’Or race is reaching its final lap and it is Virgil van Dijk, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who are leading the race for now. Given the developments in the award ceremonies before the coveted 2019 Ballon d’Or, it seems like it is Messi vs Van Dijk in the final showdown while Ronaldo is trailing behind.

And now, Van Dijk’s Liverpool teammate Saido Mane has stated that he would rather vote for Leo than Virgil van Dijk.

The Senegal international stated that although Virgil van Dijk is a phenomenal player himself, Lionel Messi simply has to come before Virgil van Dijk.

“Yes, for sure…after Virgil,” said Mane to The Times.

“No, Virgil is a great, great player but sorry Virgil, it has to be Messi before you.”

Notably, the Argentine has chosen Sadio Mane as his player of the year in the recently held The Best FIFA awards. In response, the Liverpool star has stated that coming from the five-time Ballon d’Or winner it is a massive compliment.

“It’s a great compliment when Messi votes for you. If you look at where I’ve come from, it shows I’ve come quite far. Without being for a long time at an academy, I got here. All I can say [to kids] is to keep working hard and go for your dream.”

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to finish third in the race to Ballon d’Or. Messi had himself lost his spot among the top three in the Ballon d’Or last year when he finished fifth.