Sadio Mane left his family without them knowing to travel to Dakar and try to make it as a player.
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has revealed the incredible story about how he ran away from his small home town at the age 15 to try and make it as a footballer in the Senegalese capital city of Dakar, leaving without ever telling his family.
"When I told my family I wanted to be a footballer, they didn't want me to," Mane explained during an interview with Liverpool's official YouTube channel.
"I packed my luggage one day. I spoke to someone who was like my dad, trying to help me all the time. I told him, 'I want to leave this city to go to Dakar, can you help get me money to go?'"
Mane grew up in a house of 10 people, including his uncle and cousins, but none of them knew where he had gone for a whole week.
"Nobody knew, I didn't even tell me mum or uncle. [My friend] gave me the money and I just packed all my luggage and went. I went to Dakar and for one week, no one knew where I was," the player said.
"My mum called everybody, everyone was panicking, so my friend said 'he left to go to Dakar'.
"They sent someone (Mane's brother, he later revealed) to catch me and bring me back. No one in my family ever believed that I would become a football player."
Mane's determination never faltered and eventually, after his education was over, his family finally came around to his way of thinking and backed his dream.
"After I finished at school, they said 'O.K., you want to be [a footballer], so we'll try,'" he said.
Starting out at the Génération Foot academy in Dakar, Mane was picked up French club Metz at the age of 19 and made the trip to Europe - he only told his mum once he had arrived in France.
Despite leaving her out of the loop on more than one occasion, the 25-year-old maintains an incredibly close relationship with his mum, although she can never watch any of his games due to stress and worry for her son.
"Every single day I speak to my mum," Mane revealed.
"One time at Southampton, my uncle tried to force her - 'today you have to go' - and she came, two minutes and she left. She can watch football, but when I'm playing, never."