Sadio Mane has opened up on why he decided to leave Liverpool and admitted it was “really strange” to no longer be a part of the club.
The Senegalese star has joined Bayern Munich in a £35.1million agreement – an upfront payment of £27.5million, with £5million based on appearances and a further £2.6m on individual and team accolades – just weeks after Mane told his Reds teammates of his intentions of leaving the club in the aftermath of the side’s Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid.
Bayern had two opening offers for Mane knocked back but after a Bayern delegation flew to Merseyside on Friday with a third bid for the forward submitted, the deal was a matter of time. Mane was subsequently pictured in a Bayern kit for the first time and said his first words after joining the German champions.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, Mane admitted after the deal was concluded: “Obviously it is strange – really, really strange – to no longer be a Liverpool player after six years spent at Anfield. But of course I had a great time, an unbelievable time, and since my first day I really, really enjoyed training, playing, at Anfield especially and in front of these amazing supporters. Now it’s come to the end, so what can you say?”
Mane then opened up on the closing weeks of last season when he would have been aware that he was entering the home straight of his memorable six-year stint at Anfield, as they were still gunning to win the Premier League and Champions League trophies.
Asked to explain why he felt it was the right time to move on, the forward continued: “Yeah, sure there was a lot, a lot, of speculation but I’m not a confused boy in my head.
“Obviously I know what I want and I know what is professional so for me, I was not even thinking about it because I was still a Liverpool player and we had really, really important games.
“For me that time was so, so important for myself and the team and the boys, and the supporters as well, and that is why I was really, really focused on that. I did not want [to make] any comments about it because winning the Champions League and the Premier League, that would have been fantastic for myself, for the club and for everybody.
“So that is why I was not even talking about or commentating about the speculation because it is part of football, it will always stay [this way]. It is normal.”
The forward began his professional career at French club Metz before starring for two seasons at Red Bull Salzburg, before joining Southampton in the summer of 2014. Two productive campaigns on the English South Coast preceded his switch to Liverpool in the first summer transfer window under Jurgen Klopp.
Mane became part of a fearsome three-pronged attack alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, but the additions of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez in recent times has ensured great rotation. However, Mane has remained a regular starter alongside Salah and Diaz.
He also had a special parting message for the Reds fans: “Whoever leaves Liverpool, with those supporters, I think you will always miss them because they are so far the best in the world, and I always said it.
“Especially my name – “Mane, running down the wing…” – I don’t know, I can’t sing it, but anyway! Of course, I really, really enjoyed the time, and playing, wow, how can I say it? Playing at Anfield I think always gives you so much power because of the fans. For sure I am going to miss you guys and I love you guys.”
This story originally appeared on Mirror.co.uk and is published here for educational purpose