Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has described Sadio Mane as a "modern-day icon" of the English club after the Senegal forward's move to Bayern Munich for $33.5 million was finalised.
“It’s a big moment - there is no point in anyone trying to pretend otherwise," Klopp said on Wednesday.
“One of Liverpool’s greatest ever players is leaving and we must acknowledge how significant this is."
The 30-year-old Mane has signed a contract with Bayern through June 2025 in a deal that could end up being worth $42.9 million depending on future achievements at the Bavarian powerhouse.
“There are very few players like him in the world,” Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn said.
“We’re sure that Sadio Mane will delight our fans in the coming years with his spectacular style of play. He’s ambitious and eager to win more titles. This package is very strong.”
Klopp's sentiments were similar.
“He leaves with our gratitude and our love," the Liverpool manager said of Mane. "He leaves with his status among the greats guaranteed. And, yes, he leaves in a moment where he is one of the best players in world football."
“But we must not dwell on what we now lose, instead celebrate what we were privileged to have. The goals he scored, the trophies he won; a legend, for sure, but also a modern-day Liverpool icon."
Winning every major honour with Liverpool
Mane just completed what was arguably the best season of his career, converting the clinching penalty in a shootout to win the African Cup of Nations for Senegal, helping his country qualify for the World Cup, and starring for Liverpool in a campaign where the club nearly achieved an unprecedented quadruple of major trophies.
He won every major honour with Liverpool — the Champions League and Club World Cup in 2019, the Premier League in 2020 and both the FA Cup and League Cup in 2022. He has also scored 31 goals in 89 appearances for Senegal and was named African Footballer of the Year in 2019.
On social media, Mane thanked Liverpool fans “from the bottom of my heart... You were always there. In good and in bad times. I will never forget this. You never walk alone."
He then used his new club's motto “mia san mia” in a separate Instagram post featuring him in a Bayern jersey.
Mane finished last season playing as Liverpool's central striker, and scored 120 goals in 269 competitive appearances for the club after joining from Southampton in 2016.
He previously played for Salzburg, where he won the Austrian title, and French club Metz, which he joined as a 19-year-old from Generation Foot in Senegal.