Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates their second goal against Burnley
Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates their second goal against Burnley Image Credit: AFP

Riyadh: Bayern Munich’s Senegal forward Sadio Mane has joined Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr after one season with the Bundesliga champions, both clubs said on Tuesday.

Financial details were not disclosed but media reports said the Saudis paid €40 million ($43.85 million) for the 31-year-old who had two more years left on his Bayern contract.

Mane moved to Bayern last year with high hopes after netting 120 goals in 269 games for Liverpool where he won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup.

He was a key figure in the Merseyside club’s attack but failed to make the same impression at Bayern, where he fell out with team mate Leroy Sane and hit the German winger — an offence for which he was fined and suspended.

The twice African Footballer of the Year averaged more than 20 goals a season in his last five campaigns with Liverpool but scored only 12 for Bayern.

“We want to thank Sadio Mane for the past season,” Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen told the club website.

“It certainly hasn’t been an easy year for him, suffering an injury just before the World Cup and missing out on participation with Senegal, whom he had earlier led to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations triumph and World Cup qualification.

“Due to the long downtime, he wasn’t able to contribute as much to FC Bayern as we and he himself had hoped. That’s why we decided together that he should start a new chapter in his career and make a fresh start at another club.” Mane joins an Al Nassr outfit who have strengthened their squad since the marquee signing of Cristiano Ronaldo last term.

The Saudis, who were runners-up last season, have signed midfielders Marcelo Brozovic from Inter Milan and Seko Fofana from Lens while left back Alex Telles has also joined from Manchester United.

Al-Nassr were banned from registering new players earlier this month due to outstanding debts, with Fifa saying they had to pay €460,000 ($504,712.00) related to the transfer of Nigerian Ahmed Musa from Leicester City.

Tuchel shares a hug 

Earlier, Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel said Tuesday he shared a hug with Mane and is saddened the Senegal forward couldn’t tap his full potential in Germany.

Mané finished a single season that was marred by injury and a lack of goals. After Tuchel took over in March, he was often a bench player.

“It was kind of sad. We had a long hug but we had both a smile on our faces and we assured ourselves to keep the good relationship. It’s not personal from his side. I can totally understand that he feels hurt. I feel also not happy if things like this happen,” Tuchel said in Singapore during Bayern’s pre-season tour.

“We didn’t bring it to the full potential, which is my job also and my responsibility. So it’s always kind of a sad moment but in this particular situation it was the best solution to untie the knot.”

Tuchel said he was surprised by the “gold rush” unleashed by Saudi Arabia’s clubs over the last year and compared it to similarly lavish spending in the Chinese league in the 2010s, something which has since eased up.

“We’re experiencing the next league who tries to become more popular, more famous, who tries to build a brand, and they convince a lot of players, a lot of quality players and even coaches,” Tuchel said. “So a completely new situation and a bit too early for me to have a clear opinion. I’m an observer, a surprised observer.”