Sadio Mane has been ruled out of the World Cup, Senegal have confirmed.
The forward sustained a leg injury playing for Bayern Munich on November 8, which put his hopes of competing at the tournament into doubt.
Bayern said he sustained an injury to the head of his right fibula, but Mane was included in the Senegal squad for the finals in Qatar.
It was revealed he wouldn’t be fit in time to play in Senegal’s opening match against the Netherlands on Monday but now he won’t feature at the tournament at all in what’s a devastating blow to the player and Senegal.
Team doctor Manuel Afonso said in a press conference: “Unfortunately, today’s MRI says his recovery has not been as encouraging as we had hoped and we have decided to declare Sadio Mane’s withdrawal from the World Cup.”
Bayern Munich later provided more details on Mane’s injury, which required an operation.
“Sadio Mane underwent successful surgery in Innsbruck by Prof Christian Fink and Dr Andy Williams from London on Thursday evening,” a club statement read.
“During the operation, a tendon was reattached to the head of his right fibula. The FC Bayern forward will therefore no longer be available to play for Senegal at the World Cup and will begin his rehab in Munich in the next few days.”
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Senegal begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands, live on talkSPORT 2, on Monday and also face hosts Qatar on November 25 and Ecuador on November 29 in Group A.
The Lions of Teranga’s first game would have brought about a reunion with former Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutchman said: “I am very sorry that Sadio misses the match against us because this World Cup simply deserves the best players, Sadio is one of them.
“Sadio is world class, he is my friend and I will miss him.”
Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse was initially optimistic about Mane‘s chances of being able to play with the team to even use witch doctors in a bid to help his recovery.
Mane played a huge part in Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph in February and also fired in the winning penalty that saw them beat Egypt in their World Cup play-off.
The 30-year-old, who has 34 goals in 93 caps for his country and is a the two-time African player of the year, was pivotal to the African champions’ hopes of progressing to the knockout stage.
Mane has enjoyed a fine year at club level too having helped Liverpool to FA Cup and Carabao Cup success in a season that also saw the Reds reach the Champions League final and narrowly miss out on the Premier League title.
He joined Bayern in a £35million in the summer and has made a positive start to life in Germany, scoring 11 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions. Mane’s exploits also saw him come second to Karim Benzema in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
But all these achievements will be scant consolation to the heart-breaking news that Mane will be unable to compete at the 2022 World Cup.