Sadio Mane Claims He Would Happily Trade his Champions League Winners’ Medal for Africa Cup of Nations Glory with Senegal
Sports 26 June 2019 Arabia Day Newsdesk 0
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane claims he would happily trade his Champions League winners’ medal for Africa Cup of Nations glory with Senegal.
The 27-year-old enjoyed a standout 2018-19 campaign at Anfield.
A 22-goal return in the Premier League saw him land a share of the Golden Boot, while four efforts in continental competition helped Liverpool to a sixth European Cup.
Mane would, though, give all of that up for international success this summer.
He is currently in Egypt chasing down another major prize and is aware of what the AFCON crown would mean for his homeland.
“It is up to us to achieve something great,” Mane told France Football.
“Of course we are one of the favourites, we cannot hide from that. But this standing is not enough to go all the way.
“Winning with my country, which has never won the Africa Cup of Nations, that would be magnificent.
“I am even ready to swap a Champions League to win an Africa Cup of Nations.
“The return to Dakar would be extraordinary. This is my biggest and most crazy dream.”
Mane has been chasing that dream since childhood, with the stage he currently graces having been reached from humble beginnings.
Reflecting on his career path, which started with a trial back in Dakar when he was a young hopeful, Mane said: “There were 200 or 300 youngsters who were waiting in line for their chance.
“It started badly for me because when I presented myself, I was laughed at.
“I did not look like a footballer. I was wearing pants that looked nothing like football shorts. And my football boots were completely shredded on the sides and had been repaired by me with wire the best I could.
“Those who oversaw the trials would look at me with a bizarre facial expression: ‘You really want to become a footballer?’
“I understood them but I did not have a choice. As I was not that bad, they took me. That was the beginning of my adventure.”
Mane sat out Senegal’s opening fixture at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations through suspension, as they saw off Tanzania 2-0.
Aliou Cisse’s side will be back in action on Thursday against Algeria, before wrapping up their Group C campaign in a meeting with Kenya.
By Chris Burton
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