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"I feel sorry for him" - Virgil van Dijk has sympathy for former Liverpool team-mate

Ryan Smart

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"I feel sorry for him" - Virgil van Dijk has sympathy for former Liverpool team-mate

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has expressed sympathy for former teammate Sadio Mane after he suffered an injury which will impact his participation at the World Cup.

Mane was substituted during the first half of Bayern Munich's 6-1 victory over Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on November 8.

With just 13 days between the injury and Senegal's opening game of the World Cup against Netherlands, fans were understandably concerned that Mane might miss out on the tournament entirely.

Bayern confirmed in an update that the 30-year-old suffered an injury 'to the head of his right fibula'.

Thankfully, however, Mane did not require surgery on the problem, and was named in Senegal's final 26-man squad to travel to Qatar.

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Despite this, the Bayern star will miss game time at the World Cup.

A Senegal Football Federation board member told AP (quotes via BBC Sport): "We will have to rely on playing the first game without Sadio, and win without Sadio."

Which teams are in Group A at the World Cup?

Senegal will take part in Group A at the World Cup in Qatar.

Alongside them in the group are the aforementioned Netherlands, as well as Ecuador and hosts Qatar.

Van Dijk expresses sympathy for Mane

When asked about his former team-mate's injury, Van Dijk - who is set to line up for the Netherlands against Mane's Senegal on matchday one - told reporters: "Of course [I have spoken to him]. I was feeling sad for him, first and foremost.

"I'm not happy in this case, and I've been in that situation where I missed the Euros [in 2021].

"We, as players, we work so hard to get to this stage, and he has been such an important figure in that group, for their country.

"I know for a fact that he will put a brave face on it, but it's tough and I feel sorry for him. I just want to tell him that whether he plays, yes or no, it's going to be such a tough game."

Senegal fans will be hoping Mane returns by the end of the group stage - and will also hope the rest of the team can guide them into the knockout stages.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Premier League, Football World Cup

Ryan Smart
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