Sadio Mane has hailed Jurgen Klopp as a 'special manager' and admitted that he didn't want to sign for Southampton in a candid interview.
The forward enjoyed an incredible 2018/19 season under Klopp at Anfield, winning the UEFA Champions League - in quite possibly the worst final of any competition of any sport ever - and finished joint top goalscorer in the Premier League with 22 goals.
"He’s a very special manager. He has a lot of qualities and distinctive characteristics, but what really struck me is that he’s a really, really nice guy outside of football. His human side touched me, and that’s really rare to find someone like that, especially in football.
“He’s a coach who loves his players, he’s there for them. At the same time, he gives them responsibilities. We, the players, are ready to do anything for him! We give everything on the pitch for him, whether it’s in training or in a game, we give our all. He’s a manager who makes you want to go to war.”
After lauding Klopp, Mane opened up about his initial move to the Premier League with Southampton way back in 2014, when he signed for the St. Mary's club from Red Bull Salzburg.
The 27-year-old admitted that he had a number of offers from across Europe, and initially wasn't keen on signing for Southampton as he'd hoped he could work with Klopp at Borussia Dortmund:
“That transfer was tough and complicated. I’ll tell you the truth. Southampton is a very good club, but I didn’t want to go there.
“My aim was to sign at Dortmund because Jürgen Klopp wanted me. Except Salzburg was already in agreement with Spartak Moscow. They wanted to sell me in Russia to get the most money. Dortmund were ready to pay €12m. I said no to Russia. My dream was to play in the best leagues."
Despite not getting his wish at the time, it's worked out for Mane. He's at Liverpool playing under Jurgen Klopp and winning Champions Leagues. Not bad.