Mane is happy to be away from the limelight, according to the imam at Al Rahma Mosque in the Toxteth area of Liverpool.
‘He has a Bentley at home but drives to the mosque in a not-so-fancy car’
LIVERPOOL – Liverpool Muslim star Sadio Mane has been shortlisted with other five players for the BBC African Player of the year award.
The Senegalese forward, who had a stunning season with Liverpool, is known as a humble, practicing Muslim. The video showing the Muslim superstar cleaning the toilets at a mosque in Liverpool isn’t the only visit for Mane to the mosque.
“Sadio requested that no video was sent out. He wanted to remain discreet and wasn’t doing it for publicity,” Abu Usamah Al-Tahabi, the imam of Al Rahma Mosque in the Toxteth area of Liverpool, 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.”
The video isn’t the only evidence on player’s good manners.
Before the Champions League final in May, he gifted Liverpool shirts to locals in his hometown of Bambali in Senegal.
“There are 2,000 in the village. I bought 300 Liverpool jerseys to send to the people in the village, so the fans can wear to watch the final,” said Mane.
Bambali is where Mane watched Liverpool‘s famous comeback against AC Milan to win the 2005 Champions League final – at the age of 13. And his home is never far from his mind.
“Sadio comes from a poor community. He is the type of guy who will help. He has a lot of initiatives and has helped build a mosque in his home village,” adds Al-Thabi.
Mane’s personality has also helped him to become a favorite with Liverpool supporters.
“Fans like him because he’s humble. In Liverpool, the worst thing you can do is be too flash and too pleased with yourself. He’s not like that at all,” says John Gibbons from The Anfield Wrap podcast.
Gibbons says “everyone in Liverpool finds Mane really approachable” and explains how a chance meeting with a fan in a supermarket highlights his low-key character.
“He was shopping in an Asda in Hunts Cross wearing traditional dress when a fan holding a baby asks for a picture.
“Mane is then stood there holding the baby and smiling. It’s the fact he’s just in a normal supermarket. A lot of people who’ve met him said he’s very approachable and sort of a bit shy.”
On the pitch, Mane is also happy to step out of the limelight for the benefit of the team.
“When Liverpool signed him, he was wide right and was probably player of the season. Then we sign [Mohamed] Salah and Sadio just moved to the left,” says Gibbons.
“He made no complaints and got on with it. He was asked to do more of a team role and played a bit deeper while Salah was the star.”
This selflessness is not a surprise to Mike Hughes from BBC Radio Merseyside Sport.
“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.
“That just shows the character of the man.”