Global star wants to ‘give something back’
He does not consider himself a world star: with his modesty and his values, Sadio Mané is an asset for the whole football planet.
Apparently, no one believed in little Sadio Mané (30), except for Sadio Mané himself. Growing up in a small town called Bambali, in southern Senegal, the boy led a life as a farmer at best. . But Mané had other plans. With tattered shoes, the boy would have traveled alone to Dakar, the capital, at the age of 15, in order to prove his talent there.
His bad boots were even a topic at a prestigious football academy. But even in these, Mané managed to lay the foundations for a golden future: from FC Metz in France he went to RB Salzburg, then in the Premier League to FC Southampton and in 2016 to Jürgen Klopp (55 years old). ) in Liverpool.
He is now with FC Bayern – and should have brought around 17 million new fans to the club. “My country has 17 million football freaks and they are all Bayern fans now,” Mane said in an interview with ’51’ members magazine. “I think you will see a lot of Senegalese flags at the Allianz Arena this season.”
Goals and titles line his path, but apparently they didn’t go to his head. In 2019, he was named African Footballer of the Year for the first time. As he posed for the photographers with the trophy in a pompous throne, he was shouted, “The King!” Mané lost his temper for a moment, raised his index finger and said seriously, “No, no, no, no king!” In 2022, he was again named African Footballer of the Year.
The hype around his person always frightens Mané, as he suggests in an interview with “51”: “People say that about me, but I don’t see myself as a world star at all. I can’t do much with such terms. It’s just me. It’s about being part of the team. I’ll do anything for that.”
Mané knows very well what to do with the wealth he has acquired. He doesn’t follow the flashy lifestyle of other world-class players. “Why do I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches and two airplanes? How would that help the world?” he said. “11 Friends” last year from an interview with “TeleDakar”. And further: “I died of hunger, I worked in the fields, I played barefoot, I want to help the locals.”
He wants to return something
And he does. Mané invests in education and medical infrastructure in his country of origin, finances schools and the construction of a hospital. The latter could also be linked to a personal experience in his life: when Mané was seven years old, his father died because the nearest hospital was too far away. The devout Muslim also allowed the construction of a mosque, a post office and a gas station.
And his commitment does not stop at his free time. During his last visit to Bambali, for example, he played for a good cause in a charity match in the village square. It’s “important for him to give something back,” as FCB quote him. “I’m really proud of what I do for the people there. I know the reality of their lives. Making them smile is important to me.”
Not a world star, not a king, but a team player and also a “good guy” off the pitch. And an athlete open to all cultures, as Bayern’s new player once again shows. on Bayern’s Twitter account he greeted his new club’s supporters in Bavarian with the words: “Servus, it’s me, da Sadio.” And he is also looking forward to the Oktoberfest: “I even have a pair of lederhosen at home from my stay in Salzburg. I kept them because I always liked to wear them and I’m generally very interested in other cultures.