Liverpool forward Sadio Mane joked about leaving the club to join Marseille during Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations victory celebrations, telling the French club to ‘put in the money’.
Mane scored the winning penalty in Senegal’s shootout win over Egypt in Sunday's final, sealing his country’s first ever AFCON title. The 29-year-old was already a national hero in his homeland and the historic triumph only underlines that status further.
Mane has been with Liverpool since a £34m transfer from Southampton in 2016, developing from a decent Premier League-level player into one of the best wide forwards anywhere in the world.
He only has just over a year left on his current Liverpool contract and the Reds have recently signed Colombian winger Luis Diaz, who is expected to be his long-term replacement.
There is no suggestion that Mane will leave Liverpool any time soon, but in the wake of winning AFCON he joked that would join Marseille if they made an effort to sign him.
Mane was appearing on a live Instagram post hosted by Senegal teammate and current Marseille player Pape Gueye when he made the comments.
Having the time of his life, laughing and joking, he said: “Marseille, make an effort, put in the money and I’ll come! You have to pay the transfer and I’ll come!”
The club is hugely popular in French-speaking countries in West Africa and Mane has revealed in the past that, while the Premier League was on his radar as a child, he grew up watching Ligue 1.
“Honestly, most of the time I was watching the French league because at the time I loved Marseille. Marseille was my club. Sometimes I watched the Premier League and Champions League as well,” he explained in a 2018 interview.
Mane started his professional career in France, joining Metz in Ligue 2 after being spotted playing for partner club Generation Foot in Senegal. The player has also revealed in the past that he ran away from home in his local village at the age of 16 without his parents knowing to try and make it as a footballer in capital city Dakar, borrowing money from a friend to afford the bus fare.