Wisla Plock goalkeeper Thomas Dahne has credited Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp as the main reason why Sadio Mane has been able to take his game to a “different level” since their days together at Red Bull Salzburg.
Dahne was at the Austrian side during the 2012-13 season with Mane, witnessing first-hand the Senegal international’s talent.
Mane left Salzburg for Southampton, before the Senegal forward treaded that oh-so-familiar path in recent years by leaving St Mary’s for Anfield in a bargain £35million deal.
The 27-year-old could be on the move again this summer after reports linked him with a move to Real Madrid, with one former Liverpool man convinced in his belief that a £140m transfer to the Bernabeu is on the cards.
And Dahne, while not commenting directly on Mane’s links to Los Blancos, says that although it was “difficult to predict” he would reach his current heights, you could tell the exceptional natural talent was there.
Dahne told Goal and SPOX: “He was very inconspicuous, a calm guy. The only time he was noticed was on the field, you could see immediately that he was up to it. He is now one of the stars of the Premier League and a Champions League winner.
“When he came in 2012, you could already imagine that he could be really good, but that he’d be one of the ten best players in the world eight years later? That was of course difficult to predict due to his age.
“If he had the ball at his feet and started to dribble, phew, it was as quick as lightning. As such, he was the same player he is today, of course at a different level in terms of quality.
“Klopp took him to a completely different level. He generally seemed very introverted to us and he’s humble, you can see that from all the charitable work he does for his home country.”