Sadio Mane has reportedly suffered World Cup heartbreak, having been ruled out of the tournament through injury just 13 days before it starts.
The news is a hammer blow for Senegal and another disappointment for Qatar 2022, which appears set to lose another of its big-name players.
The Bayern Munich forward was seen hobbling off the pitch just 20 minutes into their Bundesliga clash at home to Werder Bremen on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
Assistant coach Dino Toppmoeller allayed fears over Mane’s fitness after Bayern’s huge 6-1 victory, saying the problem is not ‘too serious’, but boss Julian Nagelsmann admitted they will know more after a scan.
However, reports from French outlet L’Equipe claim it’s not good news, with a report on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, saying his World Cup dream is over.
It is claimed Mane has suffered a tendon injury to his leg and is facing ‘several weeks’ on the sidelines – therefore ruling him out of action in Qatar, with the World Cup running from November 20 – December 18.
If proven true, the news will be a huge blow for Senegal to lose their talisman superstar, with manager Aliou Ciss set to announce his final squad on Friday.
Mane booked his nation’s place in Qatar by firing in the decisive penalty in their victory over Egypt – and then-Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah – in the World Cup play-offs.
Senegal are due to begin their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on November 21. They also face Ecuador and host nation Qatar in Group A.
After the Werden Breman game, Bayern No.2 Toppmoeller played down Mane’s injury as ‘nerve pain’ and claimed he should be fit in time for the World Cup.
“Sadio Mane was hit on the leg, which caused him a little nerve pain,” Toppmoeller told reporters.
“Nothing too serious and his participation in the World Cup should not be in jeopardy.”
Bayern boss Nagelsmann later said the two-time African Footballer of the Year would undergo scans on the injury.
“I can’t say anything for sure, he took a blow to the head of his shin – that’s an unpleasant spot, it radiates a bit into the muscles,” Nagelsmann said.
“I think he has to go to the X-ray to see if there is something there, because it is splintering easily. But I hope that nothing is wrong. I can’t say anything for sure yet.”