Friday, July 19, 2024

Sadio Mane joins Cristiano Ronaldo at Saudi side Al Nassr

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Saudi side Al Nassr confirmed the signing of Bayern Munich striker Sadio Mane on Tuesday as the Senegal star prepares to team up with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

The twice African footballer of the year is the latest high profile player to join the cash-rich Saudi league.

“I’m really happy to be part of you guys, I can’t wait to see you,” Mane said in a video addressed to Al Nassr supporters on the club’s social media accounts.

Both clubs announced the transfer involving the former Liverpool star which German media estimated at around 30 million euros on a three-year deal with an annual salary for Mane of 40 million plus 10 million in results-based bonuses.

Earlier Tuesday Mane, 31, rued his departure with two years of his contract at Bayern remaining.

“Leaving Bayern hurts me. I would have wished for a different ending,” he told Sky Germany.

Those sentiments were echoed by Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel when he spoke in Singapore on the eve of his side’s friendly against Liverpool.

“We had a long, big hug and we both agreed that we don’t like what’s happening now, but we think it’s for the best in this situation,” said the Bayern coach.

“Sometimes things don’t work out as everybody wants it to work out. In person I have always had a very good relationship with him and this will stay.

“I can totally understand that he feels hurt and I also wouldn’t feel happy if things like this happened.

“Obviously it’s something that we didn’t bring into the full potential, which is my job and my responsibility, but in this particular situation, it was the best solution to untie the knot.”

Mane moves to the club that instigated the first coup of a raft of signings by Saudi clubs with the capture of Ronaldo on a four-year contract.

Mane won the Champions League and Premier League in six seasons with Liverpool and was a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s devastating front three with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

When Liverpool won their first English league title for 30 years in the pandemic-disrupted 2019-2020 season, Mane scored 18 goals.

But in the summer of 2022, Mane decided he wanted a new challenge — unconfirmed rumours said he had tired of sharing the limelight with Egypt’s Salah at Anfield.

Bayern made a big play for Mane, promising to make him the focal point of an attack which had just lost the services of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona.

After a strong start to the season at Bayern, it soon become clear that Mane was not clicking in Bavaria.


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