Sadio Mane was a proud recipient of the first Socrates Award at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony on Monday night.
The award has been established to recognize accomplishments off the pitch, and Mane was announced as the winner following his charity work in his homeland of Senegal.
The Bayern Munich forward accepted the gong in front of a giant screen showing him greeting people on his visits to Senegal, and he expressed his pride at winning the award on stage.
‘I AM REALLY HAPPY TO BE PART OF YOU GUYS TONIGHT,’ MANE SAID AS HE ADDRESSED THE CROWD IN ATTENDANCE IN PARIS.
‘I AM REALLY HAPPY TO DO WHAT I CAN FOR MY PEOPLE AND TO MAKE THINGS BETTER.’
Mane grew up in Bambali, a small Senegalese village, and has looked to help those who still live there in recent years.
He built a £455,000 hospital in the village and has also donated money to a secondary school, plus given free laptops and money to the highest-performing students in Bambali High School.
The 30-year-old has also put money towards building a petrol station and a post office, while he donated £41,000 to the Senegalese National Committee when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020.
Furthermore, he handed out 300 free Liverpool shirts to people in the village to wear ahead of the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid when he was playing for the Reds.
Mane was joined on stage by Didier Drogba, who was one of the award presenters on the evening.
The former Chelsea striker has also been praised over the years for his work aiding disadvantaged children in the Ivory Coast.
It would prove to be a very positive evening for Mane as he went on to finish second in the Ballon d’Or rankings behind Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
Mane won the Carabao Cup and FA Cup with Liverpool last term, while also lifting the Africa Cup of Nations trophy with Senegal, but he was pipped to the main award on Monday by Benzema, who triumphed in LaLiga and the Champions League in 2021-22.