Virgil van Dijk reveals details of a phone call to former Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane after a knee injury cruelly ruled out the Senegal star from the World Cup

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has revealed he called former team-mate Sadio Mane after learning of his knee injury.

The Senegalese star will miss the World Cup in Qatar after picking up an injury in Bayern Munich’s game against Werder Bremen on November 8.


Sadio Mane picked up the injury while playing for Bayern Munich earlier this month

Senegal coach Aliou Cissé initially included Mane in his final 26-man squad despite doubts over his fitness, but the decision was later made that the injury was more serious than previously thought.

The 30-year-old is set to undergo surgery, with initial reports suggesting he could be missing for around three months, jeopardizing his appearance in February’s Champions League round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain.

Van Dijk has revealed the details of the exchange he had with Mane after the cruel blow broke.

The pair were due to face off when the Netherlands open their World Cup campaign against Senegal on Monday, but the Dutch defender was more concerned about the well-being of his former team-mate.

“Yes I called him the next morning [after the initial injury]”, said van Dijk in a press conference.

“I wanted to know how he was and unfortunately at the time it wasn’t the best news he could have had.

Mane and Virgil van Dijk were key to Liverpool's success under Jurgen Klopp

Mane and Virgil van Dijk were key to Liverpool’s success under Jurgen Klopp

Mane sent Senegal back to Africa Cup of Nations glory earlier this year

Mane sent Senegal back to Africa Cup of Nations glory earlier this year

“Unfortunately he couldn’t take part in this tournament. I feel sorry for him, I know how hard he worked for this – he wants to feel important for Senegal.

“Obviously they’re going to miss him a lot and hopefully we can enjoy him a bit as well.”

Cisse also opened up on Mane’s absence, admitting the whole situation was “sad” and that Senegal had lost their best player.

“Yes of course, we are not talking only about Senegalese but about people all over the world and the whole football family, which is saddened by what happened,” Cisse said.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse says Senegal lost their best player to Mane

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse says Senegal lost their best player to Mane

“He represents the African continent as well as Senegal.

“I received phone calls from all over the world telling me that they were saddened.

“It’s sad for him. I hope he comes back to play as soon as possible. We pray for him.

And he added: “All coaches build teams around their best player, that’s the case for us too.

“We also have a strong team, with experienced and young players ready for the challenge.

“I’m sure we have a strong enough team.”


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