Senegal star Sadio Mane will miss the upcoming World Cup, after he underwent surgery following a knee injury he suffered while playing with his Bayern Munich team.
Initially, the Senegalese Football Federation said on Tuesday that Mane, 30, would miss his “first matches” in the World Cup in Qatar.
But after another MRI scan on Thursday, it became clear that Mane needed surgery.
Mane was forced off the field during Bayern Munich’s match against Werder Bremen on November 8.
Bayern confirmed that the player “underwent successful surgery” on Thursday, to tie a tendon in his right leg.
“The striker will begin his rehabilitation in Munich in the next few days,” the club added.
Senegal begins its World Cup campaign against the Netherlands on Monday.
The Teranga Lions will play in Group A against Qatar, the host of the tournament on November 25 and Ecuador on November 29.
Mane, who won the title of African Player of the Year twice, is considered the most prominent player in the Senegal national team, after he scored the penalty kick when the team won to become the African champion for the first time in February, after beating Egypt on penalties in the final of the African Cup of Nations.
Within two months, Mane repeated the feat, scoring the decisive penalty in the penalty shootout as Senegal beat Egypt in a playoff match to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Analysis: John Bennett – Doha
It would be heartbreaking for Mane a year later when everything seemed to be a dream come true for him at international level.
Thanks to his performances, which enabled Senegal to win the Africa Cup of Nations and qualify for the World Cup, along with his matches in the first half of the year for Liverpool, the Bayern Munich forward came in second for the Ballon d’Or.
And only Karim Benzema stood between him and becoming the first African player since George Weah to win this award. Mane had hoped to help Senegal reach at least the quarter-finals in Qatar.
Now, without their best players, it will be very difficult for Senegal to make an impact here in Qatar. The Senegal national team includes other good players such as Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Coulibaly and Ismaila Sarr, but Mane is their source of inspiration and a game changer. It’s a sad moment for Mane and for all of Senegal.