Sadio Mane made his highly-anticipated debut for Saudi Pro League club Al-Nassr on Saturday, coming off the bench in their Arab Club Champions Cup clash against Zamalek.
The Senegal international secured a lucrative four-year deal with the Knights of Nahd following an unsuccessful one-season stint with Bayern Munich. While Mane aims to enrich his already impressive trophy collection further, it was his staggering salary that dominated discussions surrounding his transfer to the Saudi Pro League.
Amid the buzz surrounding his arrival, the two-time African Footballer of the Year made his first bow for Al-Nassr in the second half of their match against Zamalek. He came close to marking his debut with a goal, but his effort missed the target.
While not getting on the scoresheet, his teammate and captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored late in the game as Zamalek held Al-Nassr to a one-all draw, enough to secure a place in the quarterfinal stage of the competition.
Mane will be eager for more game time and a stroke of better luck in front of the goal as Al-Nassr sets its sights on claiming the tournament, competing against other top Saudi clubs – Al Ittihad and Al Hilal, along with Moroccan giants Raja Casablanca.
The 31-year-old’s debut was met with mixed reactions from fans. Some were impressed with his performance, while others felt that he was not as involved as they would have liked.
Only time will tell whether Mane’s move to Saudi Arabia will be a success. However, there is no doubt that he is a world-class player who will add a lot of quality to Al-Nassr’s squad.