Long read | In his own words: A day in the life of Sadio Mane
With 11 goals in his last 12 outings, Sadio Mane is currently one of the most in-form forwards in world football – but what does a typical day consist of for the Liverpool No.10?
The 26-year-old has already matched his total of 20 strikes in all competitions last season – and with 17, has registered his best ever total in a Premier League campaign.
Indeed, Mane was named as the club’s Standard Chartered Player of the Month for the second time in 90 days on Thursday, in recognition of his stellar form.
We decided to find out more about the Senegal international and his life away from the pitch as well as how he gets himself prepared and ready for elite-level football.
So, read on to discover – in his own words – what a typical day in the life is like for Sadio Mane…
Usually each day, I wake up early. In fact, I’ve always been someone who wakes up early, and as soon as I do, I’ll take a shower and then pray. Shower, pray. The same routine, every single day.
After that, what I do next depends on what time our training is for the day. If our report time is 9.30am, for example, I still like to come in a little bit earlier and get some treatment. I’ll always arrive earlier than report time, sometimes up to an hour before, so I can get treatment with the medical staff and then go into the gym and get myself ready for the day’s session.
Some players do go for treatment, some don’t, it’s down to your own choice, really. Personally, I always want to feel fit, so that’s why I will always go. Even if I have a small thing, I will go to see the medical staff and tell them.
Before, I used to struggle with this; I remember in the beginning when I was 20/22, I would feel something, but say to myself, ‘You’re fine!’ and then sometimes it would get worse. Now, I am not a young player anymore, I am at the top level, so if you want to be at the top, top, highest level, you always have to be 100 per cent fit. You have to take care of yourself, your body, your food. It is very important. I never take anything easy, I try to look after everything.
Even one per cent makes a difference at this level, so I think it is very important for a footballer to be always fit, especially if you know you have some options available to make yourself ready. You have to use it – and that’s what I am trying to do every single day. If I feel a bit tired in my calf or my back or my hamstring or groin, for example, I will go and see the guys at Melwood and get some treatment.
If it is an early report, I’ll have breakfast at Melwood, but most of the time I’ll eat at home before I head in. It’s different what I have each day, really; some days I’ll have nuts with yoghurt and fruit, sometimes it is eggs with bread, or sometimes it is porridge. I don’t have a particular favourite food in general. The only rule I have is I always need to eat healthy – always healthy. It is so important. All of the time, I only ever eat healthily.
To be honest, I am a very bad cook, so I can only really make porridge myself – so that’s why I have a chef. He knows by now that I am only interested in eating healthily as he has been with me for three seasons.
His name is Damien and he’s originally from Poland, but he has lived in the UK for many years with his family. Mona [Nemmer] set me up with him when I came to the club and he’s a very, very good guy. I’ll never change my chef!
I have learned to listen to what my body is telling me. I used to eat whatever I wanted because I was young and had no experience of all of this. Now, I believe it is very important as a young player to start earlier, to eat healthy, and be 100 per cent ready. And to also sleep earlier!
Sometimes when you’re young maybe you don’t have this kind of knowledge or experience, but it’s important when you’re young to get on the right path. We are lucky as footballers that we have a lot of options available to us, so I think it is better you use it so you can be at a high level as long as possible. This and working hard in training all the time, it is crucial.
Of course, it is a good feeling to come in to Melwood and see all the boys. In fact, I am always happy to come to Melwood because my dream came true, to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe with a great team, a great manager… everything is great here, really.
For me, I cannot thank God enough, I am very happy and always happy to come to the training ground. I enjoy everything here.
We have a good relationship as a squad. I have been here three years and some players have come in since and are new, but it’s like we’ve been together since my first year here. This is something that makes Liverpool special, I think.
Who is the loudest? Robbo, always! He is always, talking. You might think he is quiet, but he is always talking, always joking, talking loudly, everything!
Of course, training is sometimes very hard, but when it’s hard in training I think that will ultimately make things easier in a game. That’s why I think if we play at a high tempo, it’s difficult for any team to play against us because of the training, so we actually enjoy the intensity of it.
Once training is over, I usually go home and chill for the evening, although sometimes I’ll go to a restaurant. At home, I’ll sometimes have my friends over and we’ll play games – not video games, mainly board games.
We’ll also watch series or movies together. At the moment, I’m currently watching Shooter - and I like it a lot. To be honest, I’ve finished everything else, but I am looking forward to watching the new series of Game of Thrones. We’ll also watch any live football that’s on.
The friends who will come over to my house are ones I’ve known for a while – people I know from Southampton, from Paris and, of course, some friends from Liverpool.
Naby is also someone who will sometimes come over to my house.
I have to be totally honest, I was joking when I said about Naby’s snoring keeping me awake when we were at the training camp in Marbella! Honestly, I was only joking and just making fun of him!
Every day, at 7.30pm – always at 7.30pm - I will eat my evening meal. Again, as long as it is a healthy meal then for me, mentally, it is top.
After that, sometimes I will look at social media, but not always. In this generation, most people have a smart phone and are on social media, but I don’t like to post too much – although I probably post a little bit more on Instagram. Sometimes I’ll go on there and have a look, but I don’t like to look all of the time.
One thing I do every single day, however, is speak with my mum, my uncle and my sisters. They live back home, so I always speak to them on the phone. In the beginning, I used to miss home a lot - really, really missed it - but now, I know Europe, I am here, I am working and I am used to it. If I am going back home, I am very excited to be going back because it’s my home country and I love it, but when I am here and working, I don’t feel nostalgic or miss home.
Obviously as footballers we spend a lot of time in hotels, but I don’t mind it. I am used to it now. Maybe it makes you more concentrated, so I think that’s important.
When we are staying away, I’ll eat in the hotel and then go to my room, watch a movie or a TV series on my iPad and then go to bed. I sleep very well – but I sleep very well every single time, whether it’s a hotel or at home. The latest I like to go to bed is midnight, but usually it’s 11pm for me so I am feeling well rested the next day.
On the day of a game, from the moment I wake up, I like to make sure I’m relaxed and focused on the match. I am someone who is always looking forward.
In the beginning, I had some nerves on matchdays, but now I am more focused on the game, thinking about how I can have a great game in my mind. I don’t have nervous feelings.
I don’t have any particular rituals before a match. I just go there, feel relaxed and try to win the game – and when we travel to the stadiums on the coach, I am not doing much. Maybe playing on my phone, listening to music.
I’ve always been able to stay very focused before matches. If I want to focus, I just focus and block everything else out.
The dressing room is always different on a matchday. At Melwood you can joke around, but on game day you can’t because people like to focus on the game, so they like to be calm and prepare for the game. I’ll do some pre-activation work, some stretching and then when it’s time, go to warm up.
Once it comes to the game itself, the feeling when you walk out of the tunnel is one of excitement for the game: you can’t wait for it.
Scoring a goal? How it feels depends – sometimes you can score the winning goal, the equaliser or score at 2-0 up or 3-0 down, so it feels different. A winning goal is always more exciting and a better feeling, but scoring a goal is always special – and even better if it’s helped us to win the match.
After a game, I will have an ice bath and a massage if there’s enough time, then I’ll go home, eat, watch movies until I fall asleep.
I said earlier I am someone who likes to sleep early and always sleeps well, but this doesn’t happen after a night game! Sometimes I’ll only be able to sleep around three, maybe four hours, maximum at night because of adrenaline. I’m used to it, though, so it’s fine. I’ll just watch films or series until I fall asleep.
And that’s how a normal day for me looks. This is my dream, this is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I am so grateful that I am able to do it now.