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Good People, Good Work

Sadio Mané: Humble Genius of the Football Pitch

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You may know Sadio Mané for his many awards or amazing skill, speed, and team play. He is a world-class footballer who is also one of the game’s best forwards. He won the African Footballer of the Year Award in 2019. In the same year, Mané came in fourth in voting for the Ballon d’Or, the award annually given to the best footballer of the year by the magazine French Football.

The first clue to Mané’s noble and generous character is a photo circulated online in 2020 that showed him carrying an iPhone with a cracked screen. Some viewers of the image wondered why such a wealthy man wouldn’t get the phone fixed or even just buy a new one. In response, Sadio said: “Why would I want 10 Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or two planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world? I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things, but today with what I win thanks to football, I can help my people. I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, [and] food for people who are in extreme poverty. In addition, I give €70 per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal, which contributes to their family economy. I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips, and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me.”

But Sadio’s success and fame haven’t changed him. True to his religion of Islam, he does not drink alcohol. “Naturally, I am a Muslim. To me, faith is my very being. I’m a guy who tries to pray five times a day, every day. Sometimes I do supplementary prayers to ask the good Lord to help me with things. Be it good times or bad, I tell myself, ‘I give thanks to the good Lord.’ That’s how I am.”

His philosophy of life is summed up by this quote from him: “I think the basis for success is work, believing in your dreams, and respecting yourself and others. I am a very, very simple person. I was raised that way.”
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