There is no doubt that the arrival of Sadio Mane at Bayern Munich has been the splash signing of the Bundesliga this summer and it has set tongues a wagging. As more voices knowledgeable about the league and the player chime in, there is more and more optimism that the signing will be good for Bayern and for German football in general.
RB Salzburg was part of Mane’s journey to the pinnacle of the game and his character and contributions there are not forgotten. Long time defensive stalwart Martin Hinteregger had nothing but good things to say when asked about the transfer. He was completely positive when he said: “I know Sadio from Salzburg. He’s an incredible player. It’s going to be tough to stop him. It’s important and good for the Bundesliga that such a player at a good age decided to come to Germany.”
His former coach at Salzburg, Roger Schmidt was even more effusive in his praise of Bayern’s new signing. He detailed a long list of the attributes that make Mane an elite forward: “Sadio’s extraordinary potential was evident early on. He loves the game, enjoys every second on the pitch. In addition to his incredible individual class, he’s also a team player. This combination makes him a world-class player.”
Also, please join us is wishing a fond farewell to Martin Hinteregger as he announces his retirement from professional football. Martin has been a commanding defensive presence in the Bundesliga since 2016. He was a tough, physical player who was strong going forward and just awful to have to play against. While still a young 29 he has stated this both his body and mind are no longer up to the gruelling demands of the game so he is moving on to his next career.
But the reason he is getting a special farewell here at BFW is not because of his on-the-field prowess, but rather because of his fans-first focus and his under-appreciated moment of flipping the bird to the plastic side in Leipzig. After having coming up through the Salzburg system and spent six productive years with their pro squad it was obvious to everyone that he was ready to take the step up to the German Bundesliga. But when Salzburg tried to sell him on to Leipzig he famously refused to go.
Martin was very outspoken with his feelings on the matter in a interview with ESPN: “Leipzig was not an option for me out of respect for Salzburg’s fans. These days everyone’s moved there, but I am surely not part of it. It was a matter of respect to turn Leipzig down although I might have been better off financially. I am happy that I did not go into Bundesliga via Leipzig. It’s not nice to see the manner in which Leipzig destroys Salzburg. I think it’s a shame because in the end we are talking about two different clubs, but Leipzig make the rules and turn their back on Salzburg.”
Martin was right. His courage to speak, and his loathing of Leipzig, help remind us of the important things in the game.