After nearly a week of anticipation, Sadio Mané and Senegal will finally get to step onto the pitch for their first World Cup game against Poland. Leading the Senegalese attack will be Liverpool fan favorite Sadio Mané, who played a huge part in the African team qualifying for the first time since 2002.
Mané has set Anfield on fire for the last two seasons since he arrive from Southampton, and hopes will be high that he has brought some of that magic to Russia with him. Senegalese manager Aliou Cisse had nothing but high praise for his star player on the eve of their match.
“I don’t want to say he could become one of the best players in the world - he is already one of the best, you have to stress this,” Cisse said. “He plays for an iconic club in Liverpool, which is one of the best clubs in Europe. He has shown he is top-notch with his club and he has something unique.
“He’s unpredictable, at any point he can make the difference with a dribble and pass, so for me he is already one of the best players. Sadio is a unique player and he can’t be compared to any other Senegal players, even if we’ve had some major ones in the past.
“He’s unique and despite everything that has occurred to him in the last two or three years, he hasn’t changed. He’s just as humble as the first time I met him, six years ago at the Olympics.
“His mentality hasn’t changed, his behaviour to staff and his humility to [his] teammates is the same, so he’s a player who can bring a lot to the team.”
It’s been a quiet World Cup so far for Liverpool players, but that could end tomorrow when both Mané and Mohamed Salah are set to make their debuts for their countries.