Liverpool winger Sadio Mane has sent 300 Liverpool shirts to his place of birth in Senegal so that those he grew up with can watch him and his team-mates take on Real Madrid while sporting the same colors
It was there too that Sadio Mane, one third of the devastating front three that has brought Jürgen Klopp’s side to Kiev, remembers watching Liverpool’s last European Cup triumph back in 2005.
Mane was a Barcelona fan then and so a neutral observer on the night but his Liverpool-supporting friend Youssouph Diatta was watching with him – for the first half, at least.
“I remember being with my friend, a big friend of mine, and at 3-0 down he was completely out,” Mané recalls, taking up the story.
“He stopped watching until the end and ran like crazy to get away. Then he came back at the end and he could not believe. Even to this day he cannot believe it. He came back after the game when Liverpool had won!”
Mané and Diatta still speak regularly. “He asked me that this time, do not be 3-0 down,” the winger says. “If you had said then I would be playing the final I would say it is something incredible in my life. Hopefully we are going to win.”
While Mané is in Kiev, Diatta will be watching back in Senegal, cheering on his childhood friend, as will many of Mané’s relatives in Bambali.
“My family still live in the village. My mum and my uncle. They are all going to be watching,” he says. “Nobody in the village will work this day!
“I will be going back in the summer after the World Cup and hopefully I will be showing everyone a [winner’s] medal.”