All prayers and hopes for higher healing powers were in vain: The World Cup in Qatar will take place without Bayern superstar Sadio Mané. Africa's footballer of the year and Ballon d'Or runner-up has been ruled out of the finals starting on Sunday due to an injury to his right fibula head.
Mané was already operated on last night in Innsbruck, as FC Bayern announced. During the procedure, a tendon was reattached to the right fibula head. It is unclear how long the 30-year-old will be out. According to "Bild", Mané could be absent for up to three months.
Another MRI destroys last hope
To the end, the Senegalese team had hoped that Mané could possibly enter the World Cup at a later date. After the new images from another MRI, a World Cup appearance by the exceptional player was no longer an option.
The 30-year-old is scheduled to start his rehabilitation in Munich in the coming days. Because a good month after the World Cup final, the hot phase begins for Munich. FC Bayern will return to Bundesliga action at RB Leipzig on January 20th, and the first summit in the Champions League round of 16 with Paris Saint-Germain will take place on February 14th.
Nominated for squad despite injury
Mané was injured in Bayern's 6-1 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen on November 8, but was still included in his home country's World Cup squad. The hopes of averting the end of the World Cup even rested on higher powers. According to a report in the Senegalese newspaper Les Echos, 35 imams gathered in Mané's hometown of Bambali to pray for the winger's speedy recovery.
And the Senegalese FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura brought up the topic of so-called marabouts in the French media - the Islamic saints are said to have healing powers.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann had shown himself to be more pessimistic. "In general, an early start after an injury is always critical. It's clear that Senegal would like him to play," said Nagelsmann recently. "If he has problems and can't play, he can't play. The medical things then take precedence over the sporting ones."
In terms of sport, the African champions now have to survive in Group A without Mané. Senegal meets the Netherlands on Monday, after which hosts Qatar and Ecuador are still waiting as opponents. Mané will keep his fingers crossed from afar.