Sadio Mané's move from Liverpool to Bayern Munich in the summer transfer window of 2022 was a resoundingly feel-good story: good vibes all around. But it wasn't always so easy for the star Senegalese forward to move clubs. The first time, it was daunting, painful, and more than a little sad.
Mané was then a fresh-faced 20-year-old who had been just making his first breakthroughs in the European landscape at FC Metz — a club in France's second-tier Ligue 2 at the time. Mané played nineteen games for the senior team in his only season with the club, starting twelve of them, and scored one goal. It was respectable returns for an up-and-comer — but not enough to help Metz avoid relegation into the third division.
Never one to shy from adversity, or to discard loyalty in favor of fresher opportunity, Mané initially wanted to stay and fight — and earn promotion back up from the French National league.
“It was a difficult time for the club because they were getting relegated, but I wanted to stay because Metz was my first professional club,” Mané told RMC Sport (via Get French Football News). “I didn’t really see myself elsewhere. I wanted to go back up with the team.”
But Metz had different ideas, and Sadio Mané had caught the eye of a suitor. RB Salzburg, heavyweights and defending champions of the Austrian Bundesliga, wanted him to join their attack.
Mané was aware of the negotiations and the initial difference in valuations. The French club insisted on a €4m fee — which Salzburg obliged, and the deal was done. Salzburg wanted to chase another double; Metz took the money for their post-relegation coffers.
“I didn’t want to leave,” Mané shared. “But I had to. I was told that I had to. I cried. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I cried like a kid because I had to go to Austria. I didn’t know the language, I didn’t know anyone. Metz was my second home. In the end, it was difficult, but I accepted going to Salzburg.”
Mané took the plunge, and soon, the world by storm. He scored 29 goals and assisted 20 in his first two seasons in the Germany-adjacent country’s top-flight, and soaked up something of the German language and culture in the meantime. By the next year, he’d caught the eye of Premier League club Southampton — and after two more years, landed a gig with Jürgen Klopp's burgeoning Liverpool empire.
And now — finally — he's made his way back to central Europe, with the German record champions in Bavaria. This time, he was able to call time of his own accord — and embrace his new Bayern adventure with eager and open arms.