Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has not hidden the sense of disappointment at Sadio Mane’s sale to Bayern Munich, describing it as a ‘loss’ and ‘big moment’ for his club.
Mane says he left Anfield for a new football challenge at Bayern and it is a tribute to the Senegal striker’s impact on Merseyside that confirmation of the £35.1 million exit was accompanied by an extended and emotional farewell interview on Liverpool’s club media channels.
Rarely, if ever, is a star player given such a send-off unless they are announcing their retirement.
“My life is always a challenge and when it came I said to the club that I want to go somewhere else to see a new challenge,” said Mane. “It is just a challenge, because for me I want to always be challenging myself to get better and better.
“When both clubs agreed (the transfer), I sent a long text to say goodbye to everybody, which is normal. They were sad, as I was, but it is part of life. We just have to accept it.”
Klopp offered a personal tribute to the 30-year-old, recognising Mane as a ‘true club legend’.
“It’s a big moment. There is no point in anyone trying to pretend otherwise,” said Klopp.
“One of Liverpool’s greatest ever players is leaving and we must acknowledge how significant this is. 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.
“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. I respect completely his decision and our supporters do also. If you love LFC.”