Interview with new signing Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané: I don't see myself as a global star

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© Fotos: Julian Baumann

Sadio Mané hit the ground running in FC Bayern colours with a maiden goal in the Supercup against Leipzig. In our interview, the African Men's Player of the Year explains why he doesn't feel like a global star, describes his values, and reveals why he already owns Lederhosen. On top of that, he makes a bet. You can read the full interview in the new issue of our FC Bayern members' magazine "51" (German language).

Interview: Sadio Mané

Sadio, kids were already shouting your name enthusiastically during your first training session at Säbener Straße: "Mané, you're the best!" They even climbed the trees to see you. Did you notice that?
"Yes, and I was very happy. The fact that children climb trees especially for me motivates me immensely, of course. I want to do my best here every day in training and in matches - for the team and the fans."

Quote Sadio Mane FC Bayern global star

Is that what being a footballer is all about: making children's eyes sparkle?
"I do think so. I still remember today that as a child, I admired great players and wanted to be like them. That's why it's very important to me to make children happy with my play. Children, they say, are also the most honest critics."

Who did you look up to as a child?
"My idols back then were Ronaldinho and El Hadji Diouf from Senegal. They were outstanding players. I watched videos of them for hours and tried to imitate everything they did."

Did you have their jerseys too?
"Yes, of course. My mother gave me an El Hadji Diouf jersey, and when I was a bit older I bought one of Ronaldinho's myself. I worked extra, earned money and saved up for it. It was a dream to wear his name on the back. I didn't even want to take the jerseys off, I wore a different one every day."

Sadio Mané FC Bayern Training
Bayern's new attacking pivot: Sadio Mané

You're a global star yourself today, but do you feel like one?
"People say that about me, but I don't see myself as a global star at all. I don't know where to start with that phrase. All I care about is being part of the team. I do everything for that. I want to go to the limit for my teammates: score goals, provide assists and win games. I'm here to give my absolute best for Bayern Munich."

How do you see your role at FC Bayern? The circumstances of your transfer are different to the past, where you had to work hard to achieve your status. "
When you come to a big club like Liverpool or Bayern as a young player, it's not always easy. You still have a lot to learn, in all aspects of life. I've experienced a lot in my career, I've developed as a person and a player. Now I want to bring all my experience to the team and help make it even stronger so that together we can all achieve our goals. Nowadays, I'm an experienced player and know how to deal with this kind of pressure. For me, the expectations mean motivation, which pushes me tremendously. In the end, it helps me and the whole team to realise our goals."

What do you associate with FC Bayern? What makes this club special for you?
"When I was at Salzburg, I watched a lot of Bayern games, and even after I moved to England, I always kept an eye on the Bundesliga. Before my transfer, I spoke with Thiago. He told me everything about the team and the city. Everyone knows Bayern identity. For me, this 'Mia san mia' means that the team always comes first. It's the togetherness that counts, not the individual. That's what makes FC Bayern so special. I can identify with this philosophy very easily because I'm firmly convinced this is the path to success. Identification is the key. That's why I didn't hesitate a second when I had the opportunity to move to Munich."

Quote Sadio Mane FC Bayern parents

You're considered down-to-earth and home-loving. Where do your values come from?
"I was born in a small village in Senegal called Bambali. I grew up and went to school there. In my culture, parents are very important. You listen to them, you show them respect. I think these values are very important in all aspects of life and I'm grateful I was brought up that way."

How often are you at home in Senegal? Do you feel what life is really like there, a life outside the bubble of football?
"Unfortunately, more often than once a year wasn't possible in recent seasons, because we only had a mid-season break once in my eight years in England. Whenever I can, I visit my parents and my old friends in Bambali. It's a small village, a long way from the nearest town. Life there is very different from Europe. I find it hard to put into words, the cultures are too different and the situation for the people there isn't easy. That keeps you grounded. When I'm there, I'm the Sadio of old. I play football with my old friends, we have fun together. I always really enjoy going back. My country is made up of 17 million football-mad people, and they're all Bayern fans now. I think you'll see a lot of Senegal flags in the Allianz Arena this season."

Sadio Mané FC Bayern Sprints
Apart from his great skill, Mané is feared for his pace

You've funded numerous community facilities in your village - because you want to give something back?
"Bambali has made me who I am. That's why it's important for me to give something back. 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."

Tell us about a traditional food from your home country.
"Thieboudienne, a rice dish with oil and fish. But we also like to eat it with chicken or other meat. There's also maafe, a peanut stew - I love it."

Why did you choose the number 17 at Bayern?
When my transfer was decided, I asked which numbers were still available and I chose 17. I know that some great players have worn it, plus 17 is made up of 10 and 7, two numbers I like a lot. It's the perfect number for me."

Did you ever visit Munich during your time in Salzburg?
"I've actually been to the city several times, with friends. And once we were at the Allianz Arena, at a Champions League game against Arsenal. At that time, I simply couldn't imagine playing there myself one day."

Quote Sadio Mane FC Bayern Senegal

Have you already been to the Oktoberfest?
"Unfortunately not yet, but I'm really looking forward to it. I even have Lederhosen (traditional leather trousers) at home from my time in Salzburg. I kept them because I always liked wearing them and I'm generally very interested in other cultures."

What's the reason for your hairstyle?
"The blonde streak? I've had it for about ten years. I wanted to do something no-one else had. My hairdresser came up with the idea. At first I didn't want to do it because I knew my parents would never like it. But I decided to take a chance. My parents were a long way away. Of course, they called as soon as they saw it: 'Sadio, what have you done to your hair? It doesn't look nice. Get rid of it!' I actually had it removed the first few times before I went home. Back in Europe, I had it dyed again. By now, my parents have also become used to it and accepted it."

Do you fancy a bet? If you win the Champions League with Bayern, you dye the streak red. Agreed?
(thinks) Okay, I'm in! If we win the Champions League, I'll dye it red."

Maybe kids in Munich will soon be running through the streets - and across the football pitch - with your hairstyle.
"I'd rather not! I wouldn't want them to get into trouble with their parents because of me (laughs)."

Read the complete interview in the FC Bayern members' magazine "51" (German language only)