Fresh off helping his club Liverpool to their first English Premier League (EPL) title in 30 years, Senegal’s Sadio Mane has drawn praise from all quarters in the footballing world.
Mane has scored 14 goals for Liverpool this season in the league, five behind EPL top scorer Jamie Vardy of Leicester City on 19.
Praise doesn’t come much higher than that from Liverpool midfield legend Jamie Redknapp.
Mane began his Liverpool career in June 2016 after transferring from Southampton. At the time, his transfer fee of 34 million pounds (R666m) made him the most expensive African player in history.
“When they signed him from Southampton there were a few raised eyebrows, but he has just been incredible,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.
”He’s made out of granite. He’s so strong, he’s brilliant in the air, he attacks the back post as well as anybody and he can finish off either foot.
“He is just a phenomenal player, great at playing off that side, where he’ll put the ball into the frontman and Roberto Firmino will set him up.
“He is an absolute machine in every single game. He gets scrappy goals, great goals, he doesn’t care, and that’s what sets him apart.”
The most recent achievement of Mane was being crowned African Player of the Year for the 2019 season, earlier this year. He was nominated alongside Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah of Egypt, and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez of Morocco.
Mane was Senegal’s main man at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when he netted three goals on the Teranga Lions’ path to the final where they lost by a solitary goal to Algeria. He netted a brace in the 3-0 group phase victory over Kenya and added one more in the round of 16, 1-0 win over Uganda.
He was also a vital part of the team as they beat Benin and Tunisia in the quarters and semis respectively, his influence playing a big role in Senegal’s run to the final.
For Liverpool, Mane was just as sensational as he was for Senegal as he played another crucial role aiding them to the Uefa Champions League title for the first time since 2005.
The forward scored crucial goals, key among them a double over Bayern Munich in a 3-1 victory in the round of 16 and once in the aggregate 6-1 win over Porto in the quarterfinals; as the Reds steamrolled into the final and ultimately bag the Champions League title.
In the EPL, Mane shared the Golden Boot crown with Salah and Arsenal’s Gabonese front-man Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, all three having netted 22 times for their respective clubs. On top of that, Mane scored 39 goals across all competitions for Liverpool in the 2018-2019 season.
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo