Leroy Sane insists he has no regrets about potentially sacrificing a Champions League medal as the moment was right for him to leave Manchester City.
The Germany international joined Bayern Munich three weeks ago after City accepted their £54.8million offer. He was formally presented to the media on Thursday, via a global Zoom press conference, having been given Bayern’s historic No 10 shirt for next season.
Bayern’s interest in Sane goes back more than a year but the timing of his move caused a surprise, given that City still have an opportunity to win club football’s biggest prize – the 23-year-old, having recovered from cruciate ligament damage, would have been a potent weapon for Pep Guardiola.
It has not escaped Sane’s attention that his old and new clubs could possibly meet in the Champions League semi-final but even if City – who must first defend a 2-1 lead against Real Madrid in the last 16 – go all the way, he will not rue the one that got away.
‘I thought about it,’ said Sane. ‘City have the option to win the Champions League. But I made this decision and I’m totally fine with it. If they win it, then I’m happy for the club and for all my friends there, but this was the way that I went.
‘If it really happens, I don’t think I will suffer with it a lot, because I made the decision and nobody else. I just had a feeling I needed something new and that is why I came at the end to this decision. I told them I wanted to move and this was the right one.’
Sane had entered the final 12 months of his City contract, so they made the prudent decision to cash in rather risk losing him for nothing. Pep Guardiola wanted the 24-year-old to remain in Manchester but the deeper the clubs got into negotiations, there was little chance of that happening.
‘I was talking with Bayern about it and we all came to the decision that it was better for me to come as soon as it was possible,’ Sane explained. ‘I said that it was fine because we all know that if you go really far in the Champions League, you will be done at the end of August.
‘If I would have moved then, it’s quite a short time until the new season to prepare well and settle in; it would be difficult, as you are coming to a new team in a different country. That’s why I wanted it happen as soon as possible. It was never an option to leave after the Champions League.’
City may be desperate to conquer Europe but Sane has moved to a club that’s pursuit of the Champions League is almost like a crusade; they have not won that trophy since 2013, when Arjen Robben’s late goal broke Borussia Dortmund’s hearts, and he has big shoes to fill.
The prospect, though, of following Robben is not something that has flustered Sane. He says he has returned to the Bundesliga with his appetite for medals huge and wants to show everyone the impact four years of working with Guardiola had on him.
‘Robben is a legend for this club, he achieved a lot and did a lot for this club,’ said Sane. ‘Obviously there is pressure but I have my own targets and I want to achieve my own goals and I think I just take it as a good opportunity to improve. I take it more with joy to keep going and try my best.
‘Playing for Pep and working with him and playing for the team that I was playing with, I mean, they were amazing people. Everyone knows how Pep works, how he is improving players and I think I played with fantastic players from whom I also learnt a lot from.
‘We won a lot in four years. I just had a personal feeling for myself. It was not anything about Man City or anything else – if because we’d now won everything or I’d now lost the hunger or anything [like that]. It was just me personally. I just had a feeling and that’s why I came to this decision.’