Sadio Mané at Bayern, the kid from Casamance that all of Liverpool will miss

« He leaves Anfield with the best wishes of all, and with the full collection, Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup and League Cup. In 269 appearances he has brought 120 goals, 38 assists and countless smiles and medals »: the Mersey club paid a tribute as vibrant as it was moved to its striker.

His arrival from Southampton in July 2016 was a turning point for both the player and the club. For Mané, son of the imam of a village in Casamance, it was the culmination of a patient and sometimes painful trajectory to reach the highest level.

Football had quickly become more than a passion: an ambition and an escape from a pre-determined destiny. « In the village, you are going to be a farmer, there is no other job to do. My childhood dream was to write history and win all the trophies »he told in a Rakuten TV documentary « Sadio Mané: made in Senegal ».

Spotted by Metz, in a partner club in Dakar, where he had gone into exile 400 km from his native village, he joined the Old Continent in the middle of the Lorraine winter, at the start of 2011.

« He did exceptional things, he had generosity and a positive attitude. His technique and his ability to eliminate were his strong points »told AFP Olivier Perrin, former director of the Moselle club’s training center.

Spotted by Metz

After a few difficult months, he ended up showing his talent in the first team, but the relegation of Metz to National, precipitated his transfer to Salzburg for just over 4 million euros in 2014.

He then exploded very quickly, adding tactical rigor and an almost non-existent heading game to his skills, with a thirst for constant progress.
« He is constantly looking for improvement. If he has not been good, he will review his game to see how to improve. He has the ability to question himself and that, not everyone has it. not »underlined his trainer.

Read: European football, the point on the transfers of African players

In 2014, it was the prestigious Premier League that attracted him to Southampton and two years later, he became the second highest transfer in the history of the Reds, at the time, for 37 million pounds (43 M EUR).

A year after the arrival of Roberto Firmino and a year before that of Mohamed Salah, followed by the decisive arrivals of Virgil van Dijk in defense then of the Brazilian goalkeeper, Alisson, he is one of those transfers which put Liverpool back at the top of Europe in 2019 and England in 2020, after three decades of drought in the league.

His relationship with Salah, to whom he had to give up the right side of the attack to go into exile on the left, has often been the subject of various comments, the Egyptian sometimes giving the impression of stealing the show from the Senegalese.

Quasi-monastic discipline centered around the maintenance of one’s body and religion

But his seriousness, his determination and his generosity have always been cited as an example by Jürgen Klopp, who, in April, described him as « a machine ».

Rigor, with Mané, is not an empty word: his life revolves around three poles: football, the maintenance of his body to be as competitive as possible, and prayer, religion having an important but discreet place. in his life.

In September 2018, he was seen in a video helping out with cleaning the toilets at his mosque hours after scoring against Leicester.

Extreme generosity for his community

His extreme generosity for Bambali, his native village, where he had inaugurated a hospital which he had financed, in June 2021, is also legendary.

News of his departure sparked unanimously saddened reactions from supporters on social media, with many calling him a « legend » of the club.

But at 30, after offering the first African Cup of Nations in its history to Senegal, then a ticket for Qatar, by converting two decisive shots on goal, Mané felt he had made the rounds on the banks of the Mersey.

Rather than waiting a year to leave free and despite the World Cup looming in five months, he offered himself a new challenge to the delight of the little boy deep inside him who dreamed of « win all the trophies ».

Sadio Mané in the Bundesliga: the big blow for Bayern.

« The royal transfer from Bayern »: for the German press, the recruitment of Sadio Mané, formalized on Wednesday, is the most spectacular blow in the history of the « Rekordmeister », who has rarely offered a player of this standing.

The Senegalese, candidate for the Ballon d’Or, indeed arrives in Bavaria at the height of his glory, in a club usually accustomed to attracting promising players to then raise them to star status: Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski,…

At 30, Sadio Mané will have cost the Germans an estimated amount of around 40 million euros, for a contract that runs until 2025.

But the investment seemed essential, as two of Munich’s star strikers, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, could leave the squad at the end of the season.

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