Sadio Mane admitted on Monday that he struggles to talk about his charity work after being handed the Socrates Trophy for his efforts away from football.
The Bayern Munich star has forged a sensational career for himself in Europe, which has allowed him to make a difference in his native Senegal. The forward, who swapped Liverpool for Bavaria in the summer, has never been one to assume the limelight with his work often going under the radar.
Mane’s wealth has allowed him to build a public hospital and fund schools and families in his home village of Bambali. He has also donated to the Senegalese National Committee as they looked to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Such gestures have been recognised at the Ballon d’Or awards, but even then, Mane was not one to shout about it.
He said when on stage, “Like you said, sometimes I’m a bit shy when it comes to talking about it, but I’m really happy to do what I can for our people and to make things better.”
France Football, which is the publication which presents the award, said that “the Socrates Prize identifies the best social initiative by committed champions”.
Mane previously caught the attention during his Liverpool days when he was spotted before a match with an iPhone that had a cracked screen. People questioned why the Senegal star, who earns millions across the year, didn’t simply get it replaced or buy a new phone.
The 30-year-old underlined his attitude to wealth and how best to use it as he said: “Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or two planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world? I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things, but today with what I earn thanks to football, I can help my people.
“I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. In addition, I give 70 euros per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal which contributes to their family economy. I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me”
Mane has also enjoyed a hugely impressive year on the pitch, helping Liverpool win the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup before leaving Anfield. The Reds came up short in the Premier League and the Champions League, but already the forward has adapted well to life at Bayern, where he has scored nine times. He finished runner-up to Karim Benzema, who won the Ballon d’Or.
- A Mirror report