The boy from Bambali
Wed, 22/06/22, 13:14
This is new Bayern signing Sadio Mané
FC Bayern have a new attraction - welcome to Munich, Sadio Mané! The Senegalese superstar has signed a contract with the German record champions until 2025 and will be wearing the red of the Bavarian giants as of this summer. Speedster Mané is best known in the football world from his time at Liverpool, but here you’ll learn everything about the 2019 African Footballer of the Year that you perhaps didn’t know.
Trophy quest continues
The 30-year-old is now swapping the Mersey for the Isar, where he’s set to be another star in Julian Nagelsmann’s attacking department. The right-footer has been coached by Jürgen Klopp for the last six years, and together they’ve won one trophy after the next at the Reds: the 2019 UEFA Champions League, the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup, the 2020 Premier League, the 2020 UEFA Super Cup, the 2022 FA Cup and the 2022 EFL Cup. Mané was also the top goalscorer in the Premier League in the 2018/19 season and won the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal earlier this year. But even more impressive than the collection of trophies Mané wants to add to at title-hungry Bayern is the career of the World Cup and Olympic participant.
From Bambali into the world
Mané was born and raised in the village of Bambali in Sedhiou, near the Casamance River and the border with Guinea-Bissau. As a young boy, he was always kicking a ball on the streets, but his upbringing was far from easy having lost his father at an early age. However, he had fighting spirit coupled with an extraordinary amount of talent. This was also recognised by the scouts at a trial in the capital city of Dakar when he was 15, where he managed to dribble through the defences and assert himself despite wearing worn-out boots. Mané matured at Génération Foot before joining FC Metz in France in 2011 - where a certain Franck Ribéry played in the 2004/05 season. In January 2012, he made his professional debut aged 19. After a year in France, he moved on to the next step: the 1.74-metre-tall forward signed for Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.
Premier League experience and European glory
In Austria, the practising Muslim encountered a similar culture to the one he’ll find in Bavaria - and after two years in the City of Mozart he can communicate in German. After 19 and 23 goals in his two seasons, Mané left for England and Southampton, where he scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history (2 minutes 56 seconds) in his debut 2014/15 campaign. In summer 2016 came the switch to Liverpool as Klopp’s first major signing. There are many direct parallels between his time at Anfield and the recent past of his new employers. Like Bayern, Mané’s Liverpool lost a Champions League final - the Senegalese scored in the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in 2018 - before claiming the biggest prize in European club football a year later with a 2-0 victory against Tottenham. In 2020 it was Bayern’s turn again, with a 1-0 win against PSG, while the Reds lost to Real again in 2022 in Mané’s final game for the club. Now he’s changing red shirts as an experienced football great.
Senegalese national hero
It was none other than Mané who stepped up for the decisive penalty in the shootout in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final against Egypt. In 2017, he missed the last spot-kick in the quarter-finals against Cameroon, but this time it was a different story. The star of the Senegalese team sealed the Lions of Teranga’s first success in the continental competition and celebrated with Bayern defender Bouna Sarr. In general, the forward’s career in the national team has been one of ever higher highs: Olympic participation in 2012, the World Cups in 2018 and 2022, 2019 African Footballer of the Year and AFCON winner this year - an impressive record. On top of that, Mané is now his country’s record goalscorer with 31 goals in 89 games.
An approachable star
The nicest thing about the story of Sadio Mané is that despite his stack of successes and spectacular career, he’s remained down-to-earth - which is also due to his somewhat reserved personality. Instead of going off on a luxury holiday, he played a charity match in Bambali shortly before his move to Bayern. Such activities are not a rarity with Mané.
In what’s become an almost legendary post, Liverpool’s former number 10 was seen holding a smartphone with a broken screen. The message behind it: although he could probably afford a new one, this world-class sportsman has other priorities in life. Donating to charitable causes, for example. In the course of his career, Mané has built or supported several institutions in his native Senegal. Another anecdote took place in a mosque in Liverpool, where Mané helped clean a few hours after a match against Leicester City. This fitting quote came from an interview with the Ghanaian portal nsemwoha.com: “Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches or two planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world? I was hungry, I had to work on the field, had no education and played football barefooted. Today thanks to football, I can help my people.“
Some other trivia about Bayern’s latest signing: Mané loves music, board games are also one of his leisure activities, and like many others he’s into series such as Game of Thrones. He’ll be hoping to provide similar excitement and entertainment soon in the Bayern shirt - best of luck in Munich, Sadio!
We’ve looked at Sadio Mané’s biggest successes so far: