Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has opened up on his journey to becoming a professional footballer.
The 27-year-old left home without the permission of his parents and left his studies behind in order to chase his dream, a decision which has paid off.
Last season, Mane lifted the Uefa Champions League with Liverpool and emerged as the joint Premier League top-scorer with 22 goals.
The former Southampton man recollects how he absconded from home and the challenges he came across while trying to fulfil his dream, including having to play in the boot he repaired with wire.
"I prepared everything down to the minute, knowing that I did not have any money at all," Mane told Francefootball.
"At sunset, I hid in the tall grass, in front of my house, my sports bag with my things so that I wasn’t surprised when leaving. And early the following morning, at around 6am, I brushed my teeth and didn’t even take a shower.
"I left without telling anyone, apart from my best friend.I walked for a long time to meet up with a friend who loaned me some money so that I could take the bus to Dakar.
"There, I was welcomed by a family who I did not know.I immediately took part in training sessions at recognised teams. But my parents were looking for me everywhere. They were convinced that my best friend knew where I was.
"He held on, he did not say anything. But my family and his, they put terrible pressure on him, and he eventually gave me up.
"My parents then called me to demand that I return home. I did not want to because I was ashamed to come back but I ended up agreeing on the condition that they would let me try my luck (at football) once the school year was over."
Mane, who will be expected to lead Senegal in their second Group C game against Algeria in the on-going Afcon tournament, relived his experience during his first football trial.
"There were 200 or 300 youngsters who were waiting in line for their chance," he added.
"It started badly for me because when I presented myself, I was laughed at. I did not look like a footballer. I was wearing pants that looked nothing like football shorts. And my football boots were completely shredded on the sides and had been repaired by me with wire the best I could.
"Those who oversaw the trials would look at me with a bizarre facial expression: 'You really want to become a footballer? I understood them but I did not have a choice. As I was not that bad, they took me. That was the beginning of my adventure."
Mane started his European career with French club Metz in 2011 before joining Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.
The forward moved to England to join Southampton, and his impressive form for the Saints saw Liverpool acquire his service in 2016.
Mane has scored 59 goals across all competitions since teaming up with the Reds, including 45 in the Premier League.