Ex-Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal predicts that Senegal will “really miss” Sadio Mane after the former Liverpool forward was ruled out of the World Cup
The Bayern Munich forward has been ruled out of the tournament after he picked up an injury to his right fibula during a Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen last Tuesday.
Mane was initially called up to the 26-man Senegal squad but he eventually pulled out on Friday after it became clear he wouldn’t be fit in time to play a part at the World Cup.
Bayern released a statement, it read: Sadio Mane underwent successful surgery in Innsbruck by Prof Christian Fink and Dr Andy Williams from London on Thursday evening.
“During the operation, a tendon was reattached to the head of his right fibula. The Bayern forward will therefore no longer be available to play for Senegal at the World Cup and will begin his rehab in Munich in the next few days.”
Senegal face the Netherlands in their first Group A match before facing Qatar and Ecuador and former Man Utd boss Van Gaal thinks he will be a big loss for the AFCON champions.
“Mane is an extraordinary player. I wanted him when I was the manager at Manchester United. I chased him at the time,” Van Gaal, who managed Man Utd between July 2014 and May 2016, told reporters on Sunday (via BBC Sport).
“I am a fan of Mane. He can break open a match and I would say Senegal will really miss him.
“But the same applies to us. We are missing our top scorer and king of the assists [Memphis Depay].”
Asked about wearing the OneLove armband, Van Gaal added: “I am no longer going to speak about political issues. I am focused on the match.
“We have put a full stop on this. I requested all my players to also stop doing that and to focus on the match against Senegal.”
Netherlands and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk – who was on media duties with Van Gaal – says he is “excited” about their first match of the tournament and wants it to be a “great adventure” for the Dutch.
“We have trained hard and had important sessions so are looking forward to the World Cup,” Van Dijk said.
“These last few days have passed really slowly. Finally, things will be happening tomorrow so we’re going for it and hopefully it will be a great adventure for all of us.”
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