Sadio Mane is set to become the third African player to score 100 Premier League goals.
He is currently missing a goal to reach the benchmark and has the opportunity to do so when Liverpool travel to Vicarage Road to face Watford this Saturday lunchtime.
The Senegalese striker will follow in the footsteps of Chelsea legend Didier Drogba and his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah to join “club 100”.
Mane joined Liverpool five years ago from Southampton for £ 30million and it was clear he would be a key part of manager Jurgen Klopp’s big plan to bring the glory days back to Anfield.
The 29-year-old was used to the Premier League after spending two seasons with the Saints and wasted no time in launching the Reds career – scoring a solo goal in a 4-3 win against Arsenal on Matchday 1. the Emirates.
His career at Anfield began to blossom. He became renowned for his dynamic ethnic work in having the ability to dribble the ball and terrorize defenders like a natural winger.
He has formed an excellent partnership with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, helping the club to reclaim their place in the Champions League.
The arrival of Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2017, followed by Virgil van Dijk and Alisson in 2018, made Liverpool a formidable force both domestically and in Europe, with Mane’s performances elevating them to another level. he would never have imagined.
Through his scoring prowess, he has maintained his status as one of the best attacking players in world football.
The new Cristiano Ronaldo
Mane scored 68 times between the 2017/18 to 2019/20 campaigns and demonstrated his ability to score a wide variety of goals.
Fans saw a player sense danger in the right places, scintillating speed and technique to create chances for his teammates. Here is the full player.
These qualities and abilities allowed him to score unforgettable goals, especially against Bayern Munich, on his way to winning the Champions League in 2019 by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid, and a brace in the Super Cup before winning. on penalties against Chelsea.
Even former Manchester United player Daley Blind called him “the new Cristiano Ronaldo” while in rich form.
Blind told the Mirror: “As an attacking player he’s absolutely fantastic. I can review all of his qualities – and he is superb in every aspect. He can score with his left foot, his right foot and with sensational heads.
“He can give brilliant assists, he’s an incredible athlete, and I could go on for more. Mane is the super modern player. If you look at his skills, that’s a good thing, but he’s able to combine that with some amazing sprints throughout the game.
“It takes so much power. You have to be incredibly strong physically and mentally. Sadio has it all. I don’t compare Mane to [Lionel] Messi. I think Sadio looks a lot more like Cristiano Ronaldo in his prime.
He also won the Club World Cup in December 2019 and scored crucial winning goals – including nodding a vital head in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa or another sublime finish in of the 5-2 Merseyside derby victory that will live. long in memory, finally ending Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a league title.
Former Reds legend Jamie Carragher has hailed Mane as a “world-class winger” and firmly believes Mane will emulate John Barnes as one of the best left-wing players in the history of Liverpool football club.
Carragher told Sky Sports and said: “I think Mane is one of the best offensive players on the left side in world football. I love him.
“It’s Jurgen Klopp’s first big signing and it helped Liverpool qualify for the Champions League in Klopp’s debut season. He’s been a constant and he’s an absolute superstar.
“We loved John Barnes and he’s always been in Liverpool’s all-time best eleven, left. I think when Mane finishes he’ll really push John Barnes for that position.
Mane didn’t have the best of seasons in 2020/21, but scored 16 times, which has been one of the most bizarre seasons in the COVID-19 pandemic. A quick start to the season, with five goals in nine appearances, saw him surpass 100 for the club.
Everyone’s soccer journey in the game is not straightforward – enduring many setbacks and heartaches that have led to some great destinations.
Mane is one of the many footballers to have accomplished it under difficult circumstances.
Parents forbid him to play football
Mane grew up in Bambali, Senegal and no one in his village played professional football because his parents thought he was wasting his time.
They wanted him to pursue a career, but he was determined to do so.
He ended up moving to Dakar without the knowledge of mom and dad to give hope to someone who notices his talent and has secured a place at the Generation Football Academy.
A phrase that changed her life immensely and the rest was history.
Generation Football Academy
Mane was noticed and had the chance to follow in the footsteps of other great African talents, including former West Ham striker Diafra Sakho and former Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse.
Veteran scout Abdou Diatta recalled that his first impressions were not encouraging.
“Personally, I didn’t think he would be successful with us because he was too shy. It was like he didn’t want to play, ”said Diatta, quoted by BeSoccer.
“But when I saw his touch on the ball, I was like, ‘this guy is a really good player. “
After two days of showing what he was capable of, Diatta turned to Jules Boucher, then coach, and said: “This one, we take him right away.
Moving to Europe
Mane’s favorite team in his early childhood was Marseille in Ligue 1.
He ended up playing in the French championship and joined Metz in 2011.
It’s not the best stint, but it has proven to be a valuable learning experience to surpass yourself – scoring three times in 22 appearances as Metz was relegated.
The big blow came when Red Bull Salzburg signed him for around £ 3.5million and won the league and the domestic cup in his second season – scoring 23 times in 50 appearances across all competitions.
The fastest hat-trick in Premier League history
In his first season at Southampton in 2014, he made history as the fastest player to achieve a Premier League hat-trick.
It only took him two minutes and 53 seconds to break the record against Aston Villa in May 2015, surpassing Robbie Fowler’s record of four minutes 33 seconds against Arsenal in 1994.
Models and superstars
Growing up, he saw his national team reach the 2002 World Cup.
Former Liverpool player El Hadji Diouf was one of his country’s best players at the time and inspired him to play in the Premier League. When Mane joined the Reds he was the third Senegalese player to play for the club.
His second hero is Ronaldinho. The people of his village widely regarded him as the former Brazilian star due to his style of play.
In his eyes, they were both passionate and skillful players, who had a big smile on their faces.
If he scores against Watford, who is live on talkSPORT on Saturday, expect that smile to be displayed again.
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