“Why would I want 10 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.”
Ladies and gentleman, we present you, Sadio Mane.
Not only is the Liverpool star one of the best players in world football but he’s also, potentially, the nicest man in the sport.
This week, he gave his native country Senegal £41,000 in their fight against coronavirus.
But it’s far from the first incredible gesture has made in recent years.
In fact, we think Mane may well be the nicest and most humble guy in football. Don’t believe us? Well, check out these 10 examples of him being an absolute legend.
£41,000 coronavirus donation
Mane has donated £41,000 to help aid the fight against coronavirus in Senegal. The former Southampton winger “decided to make the donation spontaneously when he saw the evolution of the situation.” He also sent a video message to his Senegalese compatriots telling them to take the virus seriously, urging them to disinfect their hands and to stay safe.
Paying for a hospital, mosque, stadium and a school in his village of Bamballi
Mane has paid to build a hospital, a mosque and a sports stadium in the village he grew up in, while he also donated £250,000 to help build a school. And he regularly visits to check their progress. He also gives each family in his village £70 every month.
“Education is very important. This is what will enable you to have a good career,” he said during a speech.
He gave 300 Liverpool shirts to people of Bamballi for the 2018 Champions League final. A great gesture even if it didn’t Liverpool luck against Real Madrid – although Mane did score.
Apology to Ederson
Ok, catching Ederson in the face with his studs wasn’t the nicest thing Mane has ever done. But after doing so in September 2017, Mane was extremely apologetic.
He even uploaded an Instagram post of Emerson which read: “I hope and wish Ederson a quick recovery. I am so sorry he was hurt during our accidental collision on the pitch and am sorry for him that he could not complete the match because of it. I pray he heals fast and is back playing very soon because he is the highest quality player.”
Giving a ballboy his shirt
Liverpool beat Chelsea in 2019 Super Cup with Mane scoring twice and picking up the Man of the Match award. He also had time to call over a ballboy, give him his match shirt before giving him a big hug.
Carrying water crates for staff
A simple but class gesture. As Mane stepped off the Senegalese after arriving at the stadium for a match, he saw his staff struggling with equipment. Many players would have ignored it and just walked into the dressing room to prepare for their game but Mane stopped and picked up two water crates.
Again on the Senegal bus, Mane spotted a lookalike wearing a ‘Mane 10’ Liverpool shirt. He asked security to bring the fan on the bus so he could meet him and took a few photos together.
Cleaning a mosque after Liverpool match
Back in September 2018, Mane scored during Liverpool’s 2-1 away win against Leicester. Hours later, he was back in Liverpool and was seen helping to clean the toilets at his local mosque.
“Sadio requested that no video was sent out. He wanted to remain discreet and wasn’t doing it for publicity,” a mosque worker told the BBC.
“He comes to the mosque often. At his house he has a Bentley – but he comes to us in a not-so-fancy car, so he is incognito.
“He’s not a person looking for fanfare. There’s no arrogance.”
Naturally, a video did emerge.
Telling Troy Deeney to look after Ismaila Sarr
Ismaila Sarr made a slow start to his Watford career despite help from Mane.
“Sadio is talking to me all the time. He advises me to do this, do that. He is a big brother for me,” Sarr told BBC Sport.
“When I arrived, he sent messages saying ‘welcome to the Premier League, welcome to England’ and we also talk when we are in the national team.
“He gives me tips, I try to execute them and to implement them. ‘If you don’t play, be calm, carry on, do your job, it will be OK,’ that is what he says. So I try to do the same.”
After Liverpool beat Watford 3-0 at Anfield, Mane told Deeney to take care of “my boy” in the tunnel.
He probably regrets that after Sarr scored twice to consign Liverpool to their first loss of the season a few months later.
BBC journalist explains his character
Still don’t believe us that Mane is the most humble guy in football?
Mike Hughes from BBC Radio Merseyside Sport explains what he’s like in post-match interviews.
“After a match, I try to get him to describe how big a part he’s played, but he is always eager to play down his role and bump up everyone else in the team,” Hughes said.
“That just shows the character of the man.”
Holding a baby in Asda
We’ve saved the best until last.
Firstly, going to a supermarket in traditional dress deserve credit. But to then happily hold a baby and pose for a photo is just brilliant.
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