Nine times Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was the nicest man in the world

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Liverpool's Sadio Mane. Anfield, September 2020.

Sure, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane is a world-class footballer. And sure, we love him for it, but more importantly, we love him because he’s one of the game’s genuine good guys.

Mane’s personality has helped him to become a favourite with Liverpool supporters, while even rival fans may find it difficult to dislike him.

We’ve taken a look back at nine times Mane has disproved the stereotype of a modern footballer.

Donations 

Despite his fame and wealth, Mane clearly hasn’t forgotten his roots.

The 29-year-old is well aware of the poverty-stricken conditions in his home village of Bambaly and paid for a hospital to be built there.

Mane then donated £250,000 to fund a new secondary school and was spotted visiting the construction site to check on its progress.

He also gifted 300 Liverpool shirts to locals in his hometown so they could wear them during the 2018 Champions League final.

And amid the outbreak of coronavirus, Mane donated £41,000 to health authorities in Senegal.

Ederson

Mane was given a straight a red card against Manchester City in September 2017 after catching Ederson’s face with a high boot.

The forward regretted the incident and issued an apology on social media before trying to get in touch with the goalkeeper.

“We don’t know each other, but I would love to have his number and send him a proper message. I think it is OK now, though,” Mane told ESPN.

“Honestly, after this incident, I was not OK. I was thinking about the red card, obviously, but we are human beings and we have to be nice to each other.

“If I could do better to ignore [avoid] the collision, I would do my best to do so. But he also did the same. I can’t do anything now.”

Ballboy

Mane scored twice and picked up the man of the match award as Liverpool beat Chelsea in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final.

But it was his heartwarming gesture off the pitch that had everyone talking after the game.

While sitting on the bench, he called over one of the ballboys before giving him his shirt and a hug, and the young lad was clearly delighted.

Water bottles

Mane displayed his down-to-earth attitude with another selfless act while on international duty with Senegal in November 2019.

After getting off the team bus, the winger was seen helping members of staff carry water bottles into the stadium. Most footballers would just walk past without giving it a second thought – as did some members of the squad – but that’s just not in Mane’s nature.

Team coach

The forward then helped Senegal beat Congo 2-0 and was getting back on the team bus when he spotted a lookalike outside the team bus wearing a Mane Liverpool shirt.

Mane asked security to bring the fan onto the bus, so he could meet the rest of the team and have a brief chat before taking a photo together.

Mosque

After scoring the opener in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Leicester in 2018, Mane would be forgiven for putting his feet up and having a rest.

As a devoted Muslim, he was instead seen helping to clean the toilets at his local mosque in Liverpool just a few hours after the final whistle.

“Sadio requested that no video was sent out. He wanted to remain discreet and wasn’t doing it for publicity,” Abu Usamah Al-Tahabi 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.”

Ismaila Sarr

After Liverpool faced Watford in December 2019, Mane asked Troy Deeney to look after the 21-year-old, who he plays alongside with Senegal.

“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.”

However, that one did come back to haunt him a few months later when Sarr scored twice in Watford’s 3-0 win over the Reds at Vicarage Road.

Post-match interviews

Footballers who play for some of the biggest teams in the world have often been lambasted for their arrogance. Just look at Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Mane doesn’t crave the spotlight and often supports his Liverpool team-mates instead of talking about himself during 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,” BBC Radio Merseyside’s Mike Hughes said in 2018. “That just shows the character of the man.”

Lee and his grandad

It’s suddenly got quite dusty in here.


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