Bought from Southampton for £37m, Sadio Mané didn’t take long to have an impact at Liverpool, quickly forming a deadly partnership with both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah under Jürgen Klopp.
Scoring 22 league goals this season, the winger was one of the most dangerous forwards in the world, which won him the Onze d’Or, an award for the best player that season voted by Onze Mondial readers.
Receiving the trophy from the magazine, Mané sat down for a lengthy interview where he discussed a number of topics, including his relationship with Jürgen Klopp, who wanted him as far back as his RB Salzburg days when the German manager was still at Dortmund.
Having to wait until 2017 to play under the the now Liverpool boss, the Senegal international believes it was worth the wait.
He said: “He’s a very special manager. He has a lot of qualities and distinctive characteristics, but what really struck me is that he’s a really, really nice guy outside of football. His human side touched me, and that’s really rare to find someone like that, especially in football.
“He’s a coach who loves his players, he’s there for them. At the same time, he gives them responsibilities. We, the players, are ready to do anything for him! We give everything on the pitch for him, whether it’s in training or in a game, we give our all. He’s a manager who makes you want to go to war.”
Mané isn’t the first player to talk like this about Klopp, and he certainly won’t be the last.
There’s no denying the impact the German manager has had at Anfield since arriving in 2015, leading his team to two consecutive Champions League finals, winning the latest in a 2-0 victory over Tottenham.
Now, he just needs to win the Premier League, and there’s little doubt Mané will be there to help him in that goal next season.