Virgil van Dijk reveals details of phone call to former Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane after knee injury cruelly ruled Senegal star out of World Cup

    Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk revealed he called former teammate Sadio Mane after learning of his knee injury.

    The Senegal star will miss the World Cup in Qatar after suffering the injury in Bayern Munich’s game against Werder Bremen on November 8.

    Sadio Mane suffered the injury playing for Bayern Munich earlier this month

    Getty

    Sadio Mane suffered the injury playing for Bayern Munich earlier this month

    Senegal coach Aliou Cisse initially included Mane in his final 26-man squad despite doubts over his fitness but the decision was later made that the injury was more serious than first thought.

    The 30-year-old is set to undergo surgery with initial reports suggesting he could be missing for around three months putting his participation in February’s Champions League Round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain in jeopardy.

    Van Dijk has revealed details of the exchange he had with Mane after news broke of the cruel blow.

    The pair were set to go head-to-head when the Netherlands open their World Cup campaign against Senegal on Monday but the Dutch defender was more concerned for the wellbeing of his former teammate.

    “Yes I called him the next morning [after the initial injury],” van Dijk said in a press conference.

    “I wanted to know how he was and unfortunately at the time it wasn’t the best news he could have.

    Mane and Virgil van Dijk were key components in Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp

    Mane and Virgil van Dijk were key components in Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp

    Mane fired Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations glory earlier this year

    Mane fired Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations glory earlier this year

    “Unfortunately he wasn’t able to make this tournament. I feel sorry for him, I know how hard he’s worked for this – he wants to feel important for Senegal.

    “Obviously he’s going to be a big miss for them and hopefully we can benefit a little bit from that as well.”

    Cisse also opened up on Mane’s absence admitting the whole situation was ‘sad’ and Senegal has lost their best player.

    “Yes of course, we are not just talking about Senegalese people but people around the world and the whole football family, who is saddened by what has happened,” said Cisse.

    Senegal manager Aliou Cisse say Senegal have lost their best player in Mane

    Senegal manager Aliou Cisse say Senegal have lost their best player in Mane

    “He represents the African continent as well as Senegal.

    “I have received phone calls from around the world saying they are saddened.

    “It is sad for him. I hope he is back playing as soon as possible. We are praying for him.”

    And he added: “All coaches build teams around their best player, that is also the case for us.

    “We have a strong team as well, with experienced and young players ready to rise to the challenge.

    “I am sure we have a strong enough team.”

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