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Sadio Mané Becomes Senegal’s Leading Goalscorer After Hat Trick

Three goals against Benin in AFCON qualifying broke a tie to give the winger sole possession of Senegal’s goalscoring record.

Senegal v Egypt - Final: African Cup of Nations 2021 Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend for Sadio Mané. He’s been the subject of maybe the biggest transfer rumor going at the moment with non-stop talk of his potential move to Bayern Munich. He was asked about the rumors in Friday’s press conference, ahead of Senegal opening the defense of their recent Africa Cup of Nations title against Benin on Saturday.

Mané responded to the question with a joke about how he will do what the Senegalese people want him to do, which understandably created a bit of a controversy. It should be noted at this point that some Senegalese natives have suggested on Twitter that there was sarcasm in Mané’s comments that has been lost in translation, and this would make what he said much more innocuous.

While rumor-mongerers around the world were busy filling pages with analyses of what the comments meant, Mané had a match to play. The winger took the pitch to kickoff Senegal’s 2023 AFCON qualifying yesterday, and he helped deliver a convincing 3-1 win by scoring all three of his country’s goals.

Going into the match, Mané had been level with Henri Camara at the top of Senegal’s goalscoring chart with 29. The hat trick last night gave him sole possession of the record with 32. Given his age and form, it’s likely he will extend that lead significantly by the time he finally hangs up his boots.

After the victory, Mané also made an attempt to clarify his joke that set off a frenzy in the transfer mill.

“I spoke yesterday while joking with a bit of humor and it was everywhere,” Mané said after the match. “I think we’ll stop there. Liverpool is a club I respect a lot. The fans adopted me since day one. Regarding the future, we’ll see.”

While these comments don’t exactly provide much clarity on Mané’s plans, they do make it clear that what he said on Friday shouldn’t have been taken seriously and was misunderstood by many.