The captain of the Dutch national team could even have received the news of the striker’s elimination with a little relief, as his team will start their performance against Senegal on Monday in Qatar, but Van Dijk was not at all happy about this and expressed his regret about Mané’s injury.
I’m very sorry that Sadio can’t play against us, because the World Cup deserves to have the best football players here and he’s one of the best, the tournament will be poorer. He’s a world class player and my friend, he’ll be missed
– the Dutch defender praised the 30-year-old forward, who played with him until the end of last season, before moving to Bayern Munich
Mané had to be substituted after just 20 minutes of Bayern’s German league game against Werder Bremen last Tuesday after receiving a kick to the shin in a duel. Despite the injury, he was included in Senegal’s World Cup squad, and in his country they believed that he would be available for the team’s third group match, but by Thursday evening it became clear that his recovery would take months.
On Friday, Van Dijk was asked by journalists not only about Mané, but also about his team’s World Cup chances, but he refused to discuss whether they could win the World Cup title.
For me, Argentina, Brazil and France are the favorites. The Brazilians always count, the Argentine team is very strong and the French have a great squad. We have a good team, we have a very experienced national team captain, but the most important thing is that we have an excellent team spirit
Van Dijk stated.
The Netherlands, managed by Louis van Gaal, are in a group alongside Senegal, the hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
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(Cover photo: Sadio Mané on the pitch after his injury on November 8, 2022. Photo: Stefan Matzke / Getty Images)