Sadio Mane and Senegal are officially champions of Africa.
It wasn’t easy for Senegal and they were taken to a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw after normal and extra-time, Mane missing a penalty in the first half of the former.
But despite that failure, the Liverpool superstar still stepped up when his country needed him most to emphatically dispatch the match-winning spot kick.
Mane will now surely go down as Senegal’s greatest ever player. Not only is he a legend of the English game who’s won both the Premier League and Champions League, the winger has well and truly delivered the goods on the international stage.
The 29-year-old’s footballing journey has been nothing short of incredible and his road to the very top has certainly had a few bumps in it as well.
In 2012, the start of Mane’s career in European football certainly didn’t go according to plan. During the 2011/12 campaign with Metz, he managed just one goal in 19 appearances as the club were relegated.
But despite his poor performance out in France, Mane was still included in Senegal’s squad for the 2012 London Olympics and that’s where he really made a name for himself.
At the age of just 20, the winger embarrassed opposing players for fun in the English capital, helping his country reach the quarter-final stage – where they were beaten by eventual winners Mexico on penalties.
Check out some incredible footage of Mane wreaking havoc at the 2012 Olympics here…
Video: The best of Mane at 2012 London Olympics with Senegal
Mane gave so many people the runaround! His speed and dribbling ability were simply too much for them to handle and that’s been the case for most players who’ve come up against him in the years since.
The Senegal captain’s performances against the likes of Team GB, Uruguay and UAE earned him a move to Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2012, where he absolutely smashed it.
Mane scored 45 goals in 87 matches across all competitions for the Austrian outfit, which saw Southampton swoop in and sign him in 2014.
After two cracking campaigns on the south coast of England, Liverpool came calling with a cheque worth £34 million and the rest – as they say – is history.
What a journey it’s been and there are still many, many more chapters to be written by one of the greatest footballers Africa has ever produced.