The Senegal star is currently one of the best players in his position, his moniker from young, however, gave a hint into how good he would become.
Liverpool and Senegal star Sadio Mane has revealed that he was nicknamed Ronaldinho as he was a young footballer in his village, where he became well known due to exhibiting similar ball skills to the Brazilian wizard.
Sédhiou-born Mane, 26, revealed how his skills earned him admirers nationwide.
“I was well known in my village because everyone used to say that I played very well and like Ronaldinho, and they even called me Ronaldinho in my village!” Mane told Soccer Bible.
“People came to see me from nearby villages and cities because they had heard my name and they were surprised about how people talked about me.
“Also, people came from Dakar, the capital. Finally, I got to go to the capital and I’d hear how people were talking about me, and they’d come to watch me to try to know me and of course, I was famous!”
The Senegal international has since gone on to greater things since being captured by Liverpool in a big-money move from Southampton in 2016. Such was his importance in world football that he has been strongly linked to Real Madrid, prompting the Merseyside giants to tie him down to a long-term extension.
However, doubts as to whether he could make it as a professional were prevalent as a young player who emerged from a village in Senegal.
“Honestly, they never thought I was going to be football player. I understand them because before me the village had some great players and no one had the chance to become a football player,” he continued.
“Those people who were very good at football finally lost everything because they gave everything to football and at the end they missed out on the chance to do other things. So, in this case, it’s why my family didn’t want me to follow in the same way.
“They wanted me to do something else. That’s why they were thinking I was crazy for saying I wanted to be a football player.
“They gave me the example of the players who were better than me and today they have nothing because they were following football, football, football until they got old.
“But I’m very glad that in the end I was able to make it and my family could see that for me it was the right decision to follow my dreams.”