Senegalese star and Bayern Munich striker, Sadio Mane clinched the first-ever Socrates Award for his charity works at the 2022 Ballon d’Or award ceremony on Monday.
The award is the first of its kind in the history presented by the French magazine to players who have contributed significantly to charitable work and community service.
Mane said upon receiving the award in the French capital, Paris on Monday, October 17, “I am really very happy to be here and while sometimes I may be a little bit shy, I’m very happy to be able to do what I do for all these people back home to make their lives better.”
What is the Socrates Award?
It is a modern award that honors footballers who fight for inclusion, climate protection and those who are disadvantaged or threatened by conflict.
The modern award, which began to be presented in 2022, was created to recognize achievements off the field, and was named after the Brazilian soccer player Socrates, who was known for his humanitarian work during his playing days and who passed away in 2011.
Socrates was also a political activist and fought in the 1980s for social change. He also co-founded the Corinthians Democratic Movement to oppose the military government in Brazil, calling on the masses and players to rebel against the military dictatorship in his country at the time.
What did Mane do to deserve to win the Socrates Award?
The Senegalese international, winner of the first Socrates Prize, was chosen at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris, for his commitment outside the stadium to important causes, especially humanitarian projects and associations, by building a health building and a school in his village in Senegal.
30-year-old, current Bayern Munich player grew up in Bambali, a small Senegalese village in the south of the country, and has sought to help those still living there in recent years.
He built a £455,000 (US$513,000) hospital in the village and also donated money to a secondary school, as well as providing laptops and distributing free money to outstanding students at Bambali High School.
Sadio Mane also set aside money to build a petrol station and post office, while donating £41,000 to the Senegalese National Committee when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020.
In particular, he encouraged equality between boys and girls in the practice of football.
On top of that, he distributed 300 free Liverpool shirts to people in his village to wear before the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid when he was playing for the Reds.
With Liverpool, Mane won the 2018-2019 Champions League, the 2019-2020 English Premier League, the FA Cup, the EFL Cup, the European Super Cup, and the Club World Cup, while also lifting the African Cup of Nations with Senegal in 2022, and helped them reach the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
It is noteworthy that Mane came second in the Ballon d’Or race, behind French star Karim Benzema, while Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah completed the top five list.