When Sadio Mane was seven-years-old, his father died.
Mane senior had grown ill, but with no hospital in the village, he had to rely on traditional medicines that ultimately didn’t aid his recovery.
And 20 years later, Liverpool’s no.10 is trying to put that right by building a hospital for his people.
“I remember my sister was also born at home because there is no hospital in our village. It was a really, really sad situation for everyone. I wanted to build one to give people hope,” he told the Guardian, in an outstanding interview.
“Maybe if there had been a better school when I was younger maybe I could have studied more. But it was not the case – I was in the village. So all the boys there want to play football and no one wants to go to school any more. They just want to be a footballer like me … But I always tell them to make sure they have to be well educated and go to school. Of course they can keep playing football but it will help you more to be successful in what you are doing if you do both. It’s not like when I was young any more because it was very difficult back then.”
Earlier this year, Mane also built a school in his village – proving that no matter how brilliant a footballer he now is – he hasn’t forgot his roots.
Many would suggest the 28-year-old has been the best footballer in England in 2019/20, and the only players who really come close are Liverpool team-mates Jordan Henderson and perhaps Virgil van Dijk.
As a result of his performances, and those of his fellow Reds, Liverpool won the Super Cup and Club World Cup this term and have a basically insurmountable 25 point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
When the season resumes, the title will be ours – and Mane will be rewarded for his extra-ordinary performances.
And what a reward that will be too for the people of his home town who’ve seen him develop into what he is now.