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The Player Behind the Name: Sadio Mané, Part One

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The first in a two-part segment on our beloved Super Sadio, Liverpool’s number 19

Huddersfield Town v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Sadio Mané was born in Sédhiou in Sénégal on 10 April 1992 and always wanted to be a footballer. At the age of 15, he ran away to the Senegalese capital of Dakar for football trials and joined Académie Génération Foot, which is the same academy Diafro Sakho and Papiss Cisse played for in their youth. After he had been missing for one week, Mané’s family tracked him down in Dakar and insisted that he return home to finish his education, as he had planned to remain in Dakar to focus on football. By the time he had completed his schooling career however, his family realized that football was his passion and chose to support Mané in his pursuit of his dream he had had since the age of three.

Mané’s football career, before Liverpool

At the age of 19, Mané was discovered by French football club, Metz and signed for them in January 2012. He made his professional debut on 12 January 2012 when he came on as a substitute in the 75th minute of an eventual defeat against Bastia. Mané made 22 appearances for the club, scoring two goals before signing for Austrian Bundesliga side, Red Bull Salzburg on 31 August 2012. Mané made 87 appearances for RB Salzburg in the two years he played for them, going on to score 45 goals (and three hattricks!) with 32 assists.

Mané signed for Southampton on 1 September 2014 making his club debut three weeks later, in a 2-1 League Cup victory against Arsenal and made his Premier League debut against Queen Parks Rangers on 27 September 2014. On 25 October 2014, he scored his first goal for the Saints in a 1-0 victory over Stoke. Mané broke Robbie Fowler’s Premier League record for the fastest hattrick in a 6-1 win over Aston Villa on 16 May 2015. In 1994 Robbie Fowler had scored three goals against Arsenal in 4 minutes and 33 seconds with Mané setting a new record of 2 minutes and 56 seconds.

Mané finished his second season with the Saints as the club’s top scorer of the season, with 15 goals in all competitions which included a hattrick in a 4-2 Premier League win against Manchester City on 1 May 2016. Mané made 75 appearances for the Saints, scoring 25 goals with 14 assists before becoming the most expensive African footballer in history when he signed for Liverpool on 28 June 2016 for a club record fee (and one of our three most expensive ever signings) of GBP 34 million.

Mané and Klopp

Jürgen Klopp had been an admirer of Sadio Mané since the London Summer Olympics in 2012 and attempted to sign him whilst he was at RB Salzburg and though negotiations proved difficult and a deal ultimately did not materialize, Klopp continued to monitor Mané’s progress.

After his first season as Liverpool manager, Klopp had a squad packed with attacking midfielders who all wanted to play centrally and felt that Mané offered something the team did not have, as he is capable and comfortable with playing wide and would bring balance to the squad.

International career

Mané has made 47 appearances for the Sénégal national team and has scored 14 goals. He was part of the team who represented his country during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and started every game before the team was knocked out by Mexico in the quarter finals. Despite being ruled out of the 2015 African Cup of Nations due to a calf injury, Mané managed to start their last two group matches before the team’s exit at the end of the group stage. Mané scored a goal in each of Sénégal’s opening two matches during the 2017 African Cup of Nations before their quarter final exit to Cameroon.

Style of play

Sadio Mané is a forward player, capable of playing comfortably on either the left or the right wing. During his time at FC Salzburg and Southampton, Mané played mainly on the left but was used mainly on the right wing in his first season at Liverpool. He made way for Mohamed Salah this season and moved to the left wing, however our front three’s versatile fluidity allows for them to be completely interchangeable throughout a match. Mané can even be played as a conventional striker and is well known for his lightning pace, boundless energy and powerful, right-footed strikes.

Honours

Red Bull Salzburg

Austrian Bundesliga: 2013–14
Austrian Cup: 2013–14

Individual

CAF Team of the Year: 2015, 2016
PFA Premier League Team of the Year: 2016-17
Premier League Player of the Month: February 2016, August 2017
Liverpool FC Players’ Player of the Year: 2016–17
Liverpool FC Fans Player of the Year: 2016–17

Stay tuned for The Player Behind the Name: Sadio Mané, Part Two, in the coming week.

Up the Reds!