Fans online have expressed their dismay at comments made by former Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that Senegal forward Sadio Mane is not world class.
Rummenigge criticised Bayern’s recruitment this summer, saying the signing of Mane and Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt was inconsequential since both of them are ‘not at the top of their game.’
"With all due respect for Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt - both of them are not world-class players for me. Of course, Mane will do the Bundesliga good and score his goals, but at the age of 30, I don't see him at the absolute top level," Rummenigge wrote in his column for Sportbuzzer as reported by GOAL.
However, a section of fans took great exception with the comments, especially with regards to Mane, who was among Liverpool’s top performers in his six years on Merseyside.
“Immediately I read Mane isn't world class, I already knew this guy was trash talking out of hate,” said @Fopssy in reaction to the article on GOAL.
He added: A world-class player like Mane was signed for €32m and it's this same trash talker that signed Lucas Hernandez for €88mill and Lucas hasn't even justified half of his price tag. Rummenigge should just move on.”
“Mane not a world-class? Maybe I no longer know what a world class means or look like. As for his age, he still has three more years to give on top of his game,” responded @Kingsolo.
He went on: “It's true that [Jurgen] Klopp let him go because he already had his replacement in a younger [Luis] Diaz and [Darwin] Nunez. That was clever dealing from Klopp and Liverpool, but that doesn't mean Mane won't be vital for any club that bought him in.”
Some supporters feel the Bayern legend judged the Senegalese too harshly given what he has achieved in the game.
“I wonder what's some people's definition of world-class, a player that has been ranked top five or top six in the last three years and you say he's not world class?” posed @Jacob.
“Mane led Senegal to AFCON success at [Mohamed] Salah's expense. And he led them to the World Cup 2022,” said Zeke Houston.
“If the best player of Africa isn't world-classworld-class, then who is?” posed Fulani Herdsman, with @Michaelso concurring with him. He said: “He even won African Footballer of the Year for 2 years running.”
“Mane more than fits into the bracket of the Zenith word "world class" his stats, performances, consistency and ratings (both team and individual nominations and winnings) in the last four years say he is indeed world class,” said Muri Omoniyi.
Some wondered if indeed it was a former footballer speaking like this.
“It must have been Michael Rummenigge who said this not Karl-Heinz Rummenigge,” observed Marc Leo.
“As someone who has seen Mane don the Liverpool shirt for years especially his first four years, the man, he was devastating,” said @Rahul.
However, some appeared to agree with Rummenigge.
“Anyone preparing for [Robert] Lewandowski's departure ought to have been searching for a replacement. Mane is what they come up with? Aren't both of them of the same era? It is not inspiration business, bottom line,” said @jude.
Mane joined Bayern for €32 million after six years at Liverpool that yielded 120 goals in 269 appearances as well as the Premier League, Champions League, FA and League Cups.