Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has shared his thoughts on forward Sadio Mane leaving Anfield to join Bayern Munich. The German manager said that the Senegalese leaves the club as one of its 'greatest ever players' and as an icon.
The Reds announced Mane's departure on Wednesday, June 22, as he joined Bayern Munich for €41 million (via Fabrizio Romano).
Speaking on the club's official website about the Senegalese, Klopp said:
“It’s a big moment. There is no point in anyone trying to pretend otherwise. One of Liverpool’s greatest ever players is leaving, and we must acknowledge how significant this is. He leaves with our gratitude and our love. He leaves with his status among the greats guaranteed."
"And, yes, he leaves in a moment where he is one of the best players in world football. But we must not dwell on what we now lose, instead celebrate what we were privileged to have. The goals he scored, the trophies he won; a legend, for sure, but also a modern-day Liverpool icon."
Klopp also acknowledged how Mane improved the club since joining from Southampton in 2016. He also spoke about the Senegalese's improvement, saying:
“Since he first stepped through the door, he made us better. If someone had told us in that moment what he would go on to contribute and achieve for this club, I’m not sure it would have been possible to comprehend in that moment. Not the scale of it, at least. Sadio made it all possible."
“To be that good for such a sustained period and continuously improve season on season – no matter how high he set his own bar in the previous one – is an example to any player anywhere on the planet that professionalism and dedication leads to reward."
Klopp admitted that Mane's exit was a loss for Liverpool and a gain for Bayern Munich and wished Mane love and success. He said:
“I respect completely his decision, and I’m sure our supporters do also. If you love LFC, you have to love Sadio – non-negotiable. It is possible to do this while accepting our loss is Bayern’s gain. We wish him nothing but success in every match he plays in, unless, of course, it’s against us. His star will continue to rise, I have no doubts."
Sadio Mane leaves Anfield as a legend and will now look to further his career with Bayern Munich.
Sadio Mane's Liverpool career
Since arriving in 2016, Sadio Mane scored 120 goals and provided 48 assists in 269 appearances across competitions for the Reds. He won the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2018-19 season with 22 goals, sharing it with teammate Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The former Southampton man won six trophies with Liverpool, including one Premier League and one UEFA Champions League title.