Early Life and Family Background:
While growing up, he lived with his uncle as his parents had lots of children and could not meet up financially with his basic needs.
“My parents never had money to send me to school,” he recalled. “Every morning and evening, I would always go to play football with my friend in the streets.
When I was young, I only thought about the Premier League which I watched on TV. Only Premier League. It was a big dream for me.”
Mane remembers himself as a 15-year-old, digesting just how much he’s progressed from the street player with stardust in his feet, but a limited understanding of the game.
“Since I was two or three years old, I remember always being with the ball. I would see kids playing on the street, and would join them.
That is how I started – just on the roads. When I got older, I would go to watch games, especially when the national team played. I wanted to see my heroes and imagine myself as them”
Sadio Mane’s biggest inspiration to become a footballer came from the big excitement of 2002 during the World Cup where his country, Senegal got to the quarter-finals in their first appearance at the showpiece.
Beating holders France in the opening match was a miracle he never forgot.
After the 2002 WorldCup:
A lot changed for Mane after the 2002 World Cup that saw his country performing at its peak. He was part of a group of small boys who started taking football seriously.
According to Mane,
“After the WorldCup, I and my friends started having a tournament in our village, I became more and more determined to be the best and win every game.
Everyone would tell me I was the best in the village, but my family wasn’t a footballing one. They are big on religion and wanted different things for me.
When they could see that in my head and my heart there was only football, I started to convince them especially my uncle to let me off the village to a local town to learn more before going to the main Dakar City, my country’s capital”.
In the beginning, they never accept it, but the more they saw how much he wanted it and that there was nothing else for him, they helped me.
His uncle and parents sold all crops produce from their farms to raise money for Mane. His talent was so obvious and inspiring, even people who didn’t know Mane pulled together to ensure he had the best possible shot at pursuing his only passion.
According to Mane,
“My uncle was the biggest help, but not the only one at the start, almost everyone in my village contributed monies for me.
When I moved to Dakar’s suburbs, I went to live with a family that I didn’t even know. I only offered them a few monies and explained my motive before they allowed me in.
Although, my family knew someone who knew them, and he took me to their house at first. They took me in, they took care of me and did everything to help me just worry about football.”
Being Disgraced because he was Poor:
Sadio Mane upon arrival at Dakar’s suburb made inquiries on the most popular football club in the town. He took the next day to visit them.
According to him, “When I arrived there on the next day, I saw lots of boys being tested for entry into the team. I will never forget this, and it is funny now, but when I went to try it out there, an older man looked at me like I was in the wrong place.
He asked me ‘are you here for the test?’ I said I was. He asked me, ‘with those boots? He Looks at them angrily. How can you play in them?’. They were bad, really bad – torn and old. Then he said, ‘and with those shorts? You don’t even have proper football shorts?”
“I told him what I came with was the best I had, and I only wanted to play – to show myself. When I got on the pitch, you could see the surprise on his face.
He came to me and said ‘I’m picking you straight away. You’ll play in my team.’ After those trials, I went to the local team’s academy.”
It is pertinent to note that Mane scored a total of 131 goals in 90 appearances for the local team in just two seasons.
How Football Saved Him:
As a child, Mane was far from even the top-flight Senegalese footballers. He was exceptional and lucky. This Miracle came when he was picked up by French Scouts on their mission to Senegal.
Part of their goal was to visit the nook and crannies of Dakar to fetch a selected few among the poorest and most gifted footballers.
More so, part of their goal was to alleviate them and their families from poverty. They were to offload the selected lads to the French League.
Upon sighting Sadio Mane, they were astonished by his skills. They had a personal adoration for the star. Reports indicated he was the poorest and the most gifted footballer in the team. They used football to save him and his family from poverty.
Mane himself proved them right by delivering goals when he was told to first attend a two-season trial at the Senegalese football academy called ‘Generation Foot’ by the same French scouts.
His success at the club signified a turning point where his destiny started to take shape. After exceeding expectations, he was sponsored overseas. These scouts took Mane to France and made him join the French club Metz. He started playing professional football in France at the age of 15.
This same club was known for launching the career of former Reds defender Rigobert Song, as well as Premier League stars such as Louis Saha, Papiss Cisse, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robert Pires.
Early Life In France:
Sadio has revealed that he didn’t even tell his parents he was leaving Senegal prior to launching his career in France.
This was because his family were earlier sceptical about his dream of making it as a professional footballer. He planned to give them a big surprise. So Mane, who was 19 at the time, decided to keep his move to Metz quiet.
His mum Satou still thought he was at the Generation Foot Academy in Dakar when he called to say he was in Europe in 2011. “I only told my uncle. Even my mum, she didn’t know,” Mane said.
“I remember the first day I got there, to France. I was supposed to train but the coach said ‘stay at home and I didn’t have any credit on my phone card to call my mum.
The next day I went with some of my friends who were already at Metz to buy some cards. I called her and said: Hello Mama, ‘I’m in France.”
“‘Which France?’ she said. She couldn’t believe it! I said: ‘France in Europe.’ ‘What do you mean Europe? You live in Senegal.’ I said: ‘No I’m in Europe.’ She was amazed, it was crazy! She was so surprised and she’d call me every day to ask if it was true.
She still didn’t believe me until I told her to go watch me on the TV. She finally did and observed my dream had come true.”
After the initial buzz of excitement, Mane endured a tough start to life in France as a pelvic injury hampered his progress.
Homesickness also took hold of him. The weather was tough, the culture was not the same,” he told
“I was really missing home because it was so different to what I knew in Senegal and especially my village so it was not easy.
But I didn’t have any doubt in my head because for me to become a professional footballer was my dream so you have to work hard. To work hard, you have to make sacrifices.”
Mane went on to shine for Metz and his performances for Senegal at the London Olympics in 2012 earned him a transfer to Red Bull Salzburg. He scored 42 goals in 80 appearances over two seasons before his arrival on the Premier League stage.
“It was colder than France and I didn’t speak German at first, but I had a very good coach in Roger Schmidt who helped me a lot,” he said.
“We were playing in the Europa League. To go and play in Austria was a step forward and a very good idea. Playing for Schmidt, that was where everything started, the pressing and everything. I learned from him.”
The LFC Interview:
In an LFC interview published on YouTube this week, Mane also revealed that he has no tattoos, scored the best goal of his career against Arsenal – and the first person he called following his transfer to Liverpool was his mum!
“She was very happy,” said Mane, who in an earlier interview explained that his mum never watches him play since after an injury she saw him had while watching him on TV back in his village in Senegal.
“My mother never watches my football, because it’s so emotional,” he added. “She can’t watch football when I’m playing. She always gets afraid of someone injuring me.”
Homes Attacked by Angry Fans:
Sadio Mane’s home has once fallen under attack by angry fans after he missed a vital penalty at his country’s nations cup match.
The £34million winger fluffed his spot-kick to send Senegal out of the Africa Cup of Nations. His relatives fled his house in Malika, near the capital Dakar, when it was targeted following the country’s quarter-final exit to rivals Cameroon.
They wouldn’t just forgive him even after crying after the miss and also apologizing to his country people.
Despite attacking his house, Thugs also threatened his relatives again at his uncle’s mansion house and trashed a £26,000 SUV that Mane bought for him.
A source said: “They turned their fury on the car and completely trashed it”. It didn’t long before soldiers and policemen started giving Mane’s family full 24-hour protection.
They share both happy and sad moments together. According to Mane, “In my head, I knew I was coming to a team that wanted me, to a manager who knew me well and has taken me like his son”.
Sadio Mane’s love and respect for Jurgen Klopp can only be summed up in the picture below. Please don’t mind his boxer.
Premier League Record:
Mane holds the record for the fastest Premier League hat-trick, scoring all three in just 176 seconds against Aston Villa. It’s a record for the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history.
That remarkably speedy treble eclipsed the record of four minutes, 33 seconds held by Reds legend Robbie Fowler.
The issue with Southampton Manager got him Transferred to Liverpool:
The sole reason is because of his frequent late arrival to the training ground and even on match days while he was at Southampton.
It’s what many have referred to as “African Time”. This was the reason for the rift with Ronald Koeman. This behaviour stopped since he joined Liverpool.
Sadio Mane Religion:
Sadio Mane is a devout Muslim. He has mentioned that he comes from a religious family in Senegal and so he has been asked how often they went to church when he was a child. ‘I am Muslim,’ he says, still laughing, ‘I don’t go to church.’
The Showcase Master:
Mane is popular at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground. He is friends with everyone, known for being humble and self-effacing.
“Many, many, many people I grew up with, such skilful players, didn’t have the chance I did to become a professional.
I knew the things that were hard were important for me to succeed. Now I am here, with no regrets, living my dream and being friends with a duo in the name of Coutinho and Fermino”
Mane, who has an apartment in Liverpool’s city centre and no longer needs a GPS to direct him to the homes of his two best friends.