It seems like it took ages and then some to finally bring Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich from Manchester City, but the deal finally crossed the line last summer. He’s still taking a bit of time to hit his full stride at Bayern, but he’s coming off of an ACL injury that had him sidelined for the better part of ten months. He’s scored 7 goals and 5 assists from 21 appearances this season and is slowly but surely getting back to the player he was during his peak under Guardiola at Manchester City. It was Guardiola, too, that Sane gave credit to for transforming him into a better player in a recent interview with Der Spiegel (via Goal).
Sane scored a total of 39 goals 135 matches during his time at City, but those numbers don’t necessarily speak to just how good he was on his day and he had fallen out of favor with Guardiola in his final season there. Despite that, Sane said he still has a very good relationship with his former manager. “Pep and I had a good relationship,” he said. He continued by recalling living in the same building complex as him along with teammates Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva; “I saw Pep’s family in the building more often than Pep himself. He wasn’t standing at the window waiting for us to come home in the evening to check on us! I thought it was great to live so close to my colleagues. It was a good neighborhood.”
With Guardiola, Sane said, his coaching was pinpoint, raising him to a higher level. “He raised me to a completely new level. Mainly by working on little things: with which foot do I take the ball in which situation and how? What is the best action to open the space. Other coaches tell you that too, but he really did it every day until I did at some point have a little man in my ear with his voice that told me what to do when and how,” he said.
Even when there are noticeable improvements in any one player, the coaching and the desire to continue to get better doesn’t stop with Pep. He’s always looking for more areas to take his players to the next level, down to the smallest details. “He doesn’t stop when he sees that you’ve improved,” Sane explained. “He’ll find something new to work on with you tirelessly. If I hadn’t moved to Manchester, I probably wouldn’t have reached that level,” he continued.
Of course, Pep is famous for the rant he went on with Raheem Sterling after City won the 2019 FA Cup final 6-0 over Watford. Despite walloping the Hornets in a Cup final, Guardiola was lecturing Sterling after the final whistle to exhaustion, which isn’t something you would see most managers do after winning silverware.