Sadio Mane's journey to being crowned the best footballer of his continent was fuelled by the support of the people back in his hometown village of Bambali.

The Liverpool forward picked up the 2019 CAF African Player of the Year award last month after a stellar year that saw him win the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Premier League Golden Boot. 

But that, and all of Mane's other achievements, wouldn't have been possible without the backing of family, friends and fans from his Senegalese home. 

"I can't describe how they are and how motivated they are especially," he told Liverpoolfc.com. "They always push me. 

"If you see those people, you push hard and harder to make them proud because it's the only satisfaction they have on it. I have to give back what they have done for me. 

"I think it was something special for the village because in the village we had some great players but they were never successful. 

"When I came to France and that time I was playing second league, the village never had the channel to watch the second league, so everybody was so excited to see me on TV first of all! 

"They were praying for me every day to see me at this level because they will be just proud. How things are going and as I get more motivated and [they get] more excited to see me higher and higher, I think I have to sacrifice myself to make them proud."

Mane realised a lifelong ambition when he claimed the prestigious individual prize at a ceremony in Egypt, edging ahead of Mohamed Salah and Algeria's Riyad Mahrez.

But the No.10 also acknowledges the role his Liverpool teammates played in achieving such a feat. 

Watch: Mane's first 50 Premier League goals for LFC

"I would say the dream came true. When I was young I was always dreaming to be the best and this year I got it, so I'm really happy," the 27-year-old continued. 

"For sure, I'm looking forward to performing well again for my team especially and win more. 

"Especially since I'm playing for Liverpool – which is a very, very, very big club in the world – winning trophies with the team can give you some opportunities to win some trophies like this. 

"For sure, you have to perform well to get this [award]. I don't know if I'm doing well but I'm trying to do my best for the team and for the club!"

Get the latest LFC news direct to your smart speaker
Never miss a beat Google Amazon

Media Watch: Read the latest LFC transfer rumours