Sadio Mane is a hero both on and off the football pitch.
The Liverpool star helped his country, Senegal, to victory in the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday scoring the winning penalty in the shootout versus Egypt in the final.
After missing a spot-kick in the first half, Mane showed incredible calmness to make amends and seal Senegal’s first ever AFCON victory.
After lifting the trophy, Mane called it the most important triumph of his career – a career that includes winning Liverpool’s first ever Premier League title, a Champions League and a Club World Cup.
“I am very proud and I think it is the best moment of my life ever. This day I think it is the best day. I won the Champions League and some trophies but I think this is the special one for me, this is more important for me,” he told Goal.
After everything he’s achieved in his career, there can be no doubting Mane’s incredible ability as a player.
But it’s also what he’s done off the pitch that has adhered himself to fans around the world.
On Monday, we produced a feature highlighting 11 times Mane has proved he’s one of the most humble and nicest footballers around. That includes how he’s paid to built a hospital, mosque, sports stadium and a school back in Senegal.
And another story has emerged that just shows the sort of person Mane is.
During Senegal’s Round of 16 victory against Cape Verde, Mane was on the end of a horrific challenge by the opposition goalkeeper which left him with a concussion. Mane did continue to play and scored a few minutes later before he was substituted and taken to a local Cameroonian hospital for checks.
It was in hospital that Mane met a distraught family whose son had been involved in a motorcycle incident. The young boy was ‘close to death’ and they couldn’t afford the treatment. So Mane decided he would pay for it.
A guest on the set of a Cameroonian channel Equinoxetv, via Seneweb, told the story:
“I think I told you about the generous gesture that Sadio Mané made in Bafoussam in favour of a family. The latter was in distress because a motorcycle had hit their child who had broken bones and injuries all over his body; he was close to death and his parents could not afford to pay for treatment. And Sadio, who was in this hospital (because he was being treated there after his shock against Cape Verde) finds this grieving family and asks them what is going on. We explain the situation to him and he gave them 400,000 FCFA (£515) which relieved this family.”
What a brilliant gesture.
£515 may be absolutely nothing to a superstar like Mane but it’s the fact he went out of his way to speak to the family in the first place and ask about the situation that sets Mane apart.
It’s just another story in the long line of things Mane has done to help someone less fortunate than himself.
He really is one of a kind.