Soccer has always been a sport filled with fascinating stories of friendship and rivalry. With every transfer window, we see teammates transitioning into opponents, and it is an intriguing aspect that fans look forward to. This time, it was the turn of former Liverpool teammates Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane in Saudi Arabia. However, the incident that left many surprised is how Henderson snubbed Mane’s handshake before their clash.
Both former members of Liverpool’s successful team have been influential figures in the world of soccer. Their path eventually diverged in 2022 and this year both decided to move to Saudi Arabia as part of the European exodus. Sadio Mane joined Al Nassr, a team that has the privilege of having Cristiano Ronaldo in its ranks. Meanwhile, Henderson embarked on a new journey with Al Ettifaq.
Sadio Mane’s awkward interaction with Jordan Henderson
The stage was set for the ex-teammate’s first meeting in the Saudi Pro League season, as Al Nassr faced off against Al Ettifaq on August 14th. Naturally, there was immense anticipation for this clash. Sadio Mane, leading the Al-Nassr side in the absence of Ronaldo due to injury, was expected to showcase his skills and captaincy.
On the other hand, Henderson took up the captain’s role for Al-Ettifaq. Before the match kicked off, customary greetings took place between the teams. It was during this exchange that fans noticed an awkward interaction between Mane and Henderson. In a video that quickly went viral, both players initially engaged in the customary handshake. Mane, seemingly attempting to display affection as friends often do, went in for a hug. But then something quite unusual took place between the two of them.
To everyone’s surprise, the Englishman awkwardly backed off, leaving the Senegalese star momentarily upset before he moved along the line. This incident garnered significant attention, with speculations arising on the possible reasons behind Henderson’s actions. Given their shared history as loyal teammates, it was unexpected for Jordan Henderson to reject Mane’s gesture of friendship. The two of them shared a long spell playing for a Jurgen Klopp-managed Liverpool.
They played together for six years after Sadio Mane joined Liverpool in 2016. Mane played under Henderson’s captaincy until he left for Bayern Munich in 2022. Now, he is playing his part in Saudi Arabia, and his decision to join the league might not align with what many would anticipate.
The reason behind Sadio Mane’s decision to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo
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Sadio Mane agreed to a salary of approximately $42,700,000 per year with his Al Nassr move. Some individuals may believe that this significant financial incentive influenced his choice to join the Saudi Arabian team. Others may even theorize that Ronaldo’s influence paved the way for other top players to join Saudi clubs as the reason. However, the main motive behind Mane’s decision is rather personal.
In his statement, the 31-year-old explained that his family provided their full support. Mane shared, “My family encouraged me to come to Saudi Arabia, especially since it is a Muslim country. My mother was very happy and insisted that I chose Al-Nassr”. Now the star winger is enjoying his time in the Middle East and has so far scored 5 goals in SPL. What are your thoughts on the awkward interaction between Mane and Henderson?