- All eyes will be on Mahrez and Mane in the Egypt 2019 final
- FIFA.com provides some stats on the two superstars
- We include little-known facts and quotes
Manchester City’s £60m winger and Liverpool’s No10 spent the 2018/19 campaign engrossed in an enrapturing, nip-and-tuck battle for Premier League glory. Now they are set to meet for the second time at this CAF Africa Cup of Nations – Algeria edged Senegal 1-0 in the group stage – after Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane inspired a final between the nations positioned 12th and first continentally on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
FIFA.com whets the appetite for this showdown of superstars with some fascinating facts, stats and quotes on the two ball wizards.
France-born Mahrez made his international debut, aged 23, just 12 days before Brazil 2014 began, but only made one appearance as Algeria excelled at that FIFA World Cup™ before losing an exhilarating, extra-time duel with eventual champions Germany in the Round of 16. Mahrez flickered his ridiculous genius at the 2015 and 2017 editions of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, and has produced arguably his finest form for ‘The Desert Foxes’ at Egypt 2019.
Mane made his international debut shortly after turning 20 in 2012. He missed the last penalty as Senegal lost a shoot-out to Cameroon in the AFCON quarter-finals in 2017, but redeemed himself later that year with a crucial goal against Burkina Faso and a palatial performance against South Africa to send The Lions of Teranga to their second World Cup. Mane was superb in Senegal’s first two matches at Russia 2018 – a 2-1 win over Poland and 2-2 draw with Japan – but a narrow loss to Colombia saw them agonisingly eliminated on the fair-play rule. The 27-year-old has been Aliou Cisse’s go-to guy during their charge into the Cairo final.
Mahrez became, in 2016, the first Algerian to win the CAF African Footballer of the Year award since Rabah Madjer in 1987. The latter scored a terrific back-heel to help Porto upset Bayern Munich in the European Cup final and was man of the match in the Intercontinental Cup that year. It has been Mahrez’s only year on the podium.
Mane, for his part, has made the podium thrice without winning the prize. He finished behind Mahrez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang three years ago, and runner-up to Liverpool team-mate Mo Salah in 2017 and 2018.
- 2 Premier League titles (2015/16 & 2018/19)
- English FA Cup (2018/19)
- English League Cup (2018/19)
- UEFA Champions League (2018/19)
- Austrian Bundesliga (2013/14)
- Austrian Cup (2013/14)
seconds is all Mane required, in Southampton’s 6-1 win over Aston Villa in 2015, to score the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history. It smashed the record of 277 seconds Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler had set against Arsenal in 1994.
million pounds was the profit Leicester made on Mahrez. They signed him from Le Havre for merely £450,000 in 2014 and sold him to Manchester City for £60m four years later.
Did You Know?
- Mane, who is famously down-to-earth, oftens cleans the toilets in his local mosque.
- Mahrez thought Leicester was a rugby union club when he was approached about joining them!
- Mahrez and Mane have both reigned as the costliest African in history – a distinction also held by the likes of Tony Yeboah, George Weah, Finidi George, Jay-Jay Okocha and Didier Drogba.
"He’s a very talented player. He’s unpredictable. He gets to the byline, he can cut inside. He can score with his left and his right.”
Pep Guardiola on Mahrez
“He’s unbelievable. He does it all. A fantastic creator, a fantastic scorer. So fast, so good at dribbling. And you see how good he is in the air. I'm not sure somebody has jumped that high since Air Jordan.”
Jurgen Klopp on Sadio Mane
“At first I couldn’t take to him because he was the messiest person I had met – dirty plates, mess everywhere. I had to domesticate him. But then he became like a brother. We led a real student lifestyle. We couldn’t cook, takeaways every day, steak and fries, a really, really bad diet. We were always out.”
Mathias Pogba on his former Quimper team-mate Mahrez
“He loves his muscles. He loves all his body. His hairstyle too. He’s very quiet, likes his own [company]. Before Naby [Keita] came his best friend is his mobile phone! (laughs) Always on it.”
Mo Salah on Mane