Is it free? Mane's rise from poverty

Fame & Fortune

Sadio Mane escaped abject poverty of the Bamballi village in Senegal with a dream move to Europe and the first picture that emerged from his first day at Metz tells a heartbreaking story.

The reigning CAF African Footballer of the Year has firmly established himself as one of the leading footballers in the world and a fourth-place finish in the 2019 Ballon d'Or encapsulates the incredible rise from adversity.

Only behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil van Dijk and record six-time winner Lionel Messi, Mane's ability and more evidently he's personality has won hearts across the globe.

With striking humility that's uncommon in the modern game, recalling an incredibly moving story about his breakthrough to Europe offers insight to his rare traits.

From Bamballi to Dakar

From hitch-hiking 400kms towards Dakar with no money to his name for a chance to join the Génération Foot academy system, Mane once admitted he walked for hours to meet a friend who helped him get a bus towards the capital city.

But after being scouted by Metz, he left his rural village for a chance to make a living abroad and the reporter who took the first image of the Senegal international when he arrived offered insight into why the picture holds so much significance to the footballer.

"I noticed a funny guy in the team [Sadio] because he took a Japanese-style bow to anyone he met. He said that the scout of Metz just found him in some rural area in Senegal, and he really appreciated the chance," he said, as per GMS.

"He saw I got a camera, and he asked me to take a picture of him because he wanted to show his mother. I asked him for his email address.

"He shook his head. He only gave me the address of the club (Metz). At last, he asked 'It's free, right?'"

Rise to the adoration of the Kop faithful

Since his professional breakthrough, Mane moved on to the Austrian Bundesliga with RB Salzburg where he burst onto the scene with 45 goals in 87 games over two seasons, prompting Southampton to invest £11.8 million in his services.

Two seasons later Jurgen Klopp's Reds came knocking with a £34-million offer, where he now earns a reported £150,000-a-week and lifted the 2018/19 PL Golden Boot alongside teammate Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

But it's not just been his ability on the field that's caught the attention of the world, Mane's since built a school in his village worth €270,000 (R5.2m) a hospital and a stadium for his people.

It's also been revealed that he offers each family £70 (R1300) on a monthly basis on top of supplying kids with clothes and Liverpool gear.

Did you know?

Mane made a £40000 (R770 000) donation to the national committee fighting against coronavirus.

Your thoughts, please?

What struck you the most about Mane's journey towards the Premier League riches?

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