Further scans, though, revealed more significant damage and on Thursday Mané underwent surgery. As a result, he has now been ruled out for the World Cup and instead of playing will spend the next six weeks rehabbing.
“I feel terrible for him to miss the World Cup,” Van Dijk told ESPN Netherlands after learning Mané would miss the World Cup. “The tournament deserves the best players in the world and he is definitely one of them.
“He is also a very good friend of mine, so I am really disappointed that I cannot play against him. Senegal have enough players who can replace him, but they are not like him. Mane is in a different category.”
After leading Senegal to glory at Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, Mané finished second in Ballon d’Or voting. Without him, their chances in Group A with Netherlands, Ecuador, and Qatar appear diminished.