"Look at them. How can you play in them? And with those shorts? You don't even have proper football shorts."


That's what a 15-year-old was told when he appeared for his first ever trial, 500 miles away from home. In return, the boy said he came with the best he had and that he just wanted to show what he's got.

Torn boots
Source: Luangwa

9 years later, the boy matured to make his first ever Liverpool appearance. And toyed with two Arsenal defenders to put the ball into the top corner.


Yes, Sadio Mane did well at Salzburg and Southampton, but here is where he truly burst onto the scene. And that was just the beginning.

Sadio Mane debut
Source: Liverpool Echo

From a 15-year-old owning just a pair of torn shoes to being awarded his own custom-made boots in 2019, Sadio Mane has come a long way.

He was also awarded The African Player of the Year Award in 2019 for his near-perfect run for Senegal in the African Cup of Nations.

New Balance boots
Source: Daily Star

But unlike any other rags to riches story, Mane's development has not just been instrumental for his career but for those rooting for him back in his native village.


Hailing from a small village, Bambaly in Senegal, Mane rose in stature but never forgot his humble roots.

Sadio Mane
Source: Independent UK

An absolute talisman leading from the front, Sadio Mane is not just the captain of the country's football team but someone who substantially works for the development of his people.

After playing the African Cup of Nations, Mane delayed his return to Anfield and instead went to his village to check on a €270k school he is financing.

The list of good deeds don't end here.

Apart from a school, Mane has actively donated football kits to poor children and also paid for the construction of a hospital and a mosque in a give-back initiative aimed at helping his community.

Source: Mirror UK

If financing a school and a hospital wasn't enough, Mane has now been paying £70 to each individual household in Bambaly every month.

This video, featuring locals from Senegal, reveals more about his amazing contribution to his people.

After being signed by Liverpool for a hefty fee in 2016, Mane justified Klopp's trust in the Senegalese with his performances since then.
The icing on the cake was to secure a much-awaited Champions League trophy before lifting Liverpool's first ever Club World Cup trophy.

Sadio Mane
Source: Sports Joe

The contribution was immense in terms of goals and assists. Sadio Mane, by the end of 2019, was noted as one of the best players of the Premier League. Yet the success never went to his head.

The best example is the fact that Mane still uses a cracked iPhone 7 despite earning £150,000 per week.

Sadio Mane
Source: Life Inspiration

Upon being asked about his humble choices, he had famously quoted:

Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches or two planes? What will these objects do for me and the world? I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. I did not have an education and many other things, but today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people.
Sadio Mane
Source: Liverpool Echo

Possibly en route to a first Premier League win in 20 years, thanks to their 14 point lead with a game in hand, Sadio Mane may go down as one of the best Liverpool players in their entire history.

But the milestones he's achieved off the field may still dwarf his achievements on it.

Source: Liverpool FC

A joy to watch with the ball at his feet, Sadio Mane is certainly a gem even without it.