'The complete package!' - Mane the best team-mate I've ever had, says RB Leipzig's Kampl

Sadio Mane Liverpool 2019-20
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The Senegal star had all the qualities to shine even at the start of his career, according to the Slovenian midfielder

RB Leipzig midfielder Kevin Kampl has identified Liverpool's Sadio Mane as the best team-mate he has ever had. 

The two crossed paths while playing for Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg, with Mane ultimately departing for England in 2014 when he joined Southampton before moving to Anfield in 2016. 

Since his switch to the Premier League, the Senegalese attacker has taken the football world by storm and was named African Footballer of the Year in 2019. 

While now among the world's best footballers, Kampl has revealed Mane's ability was never in question, even when he was still playing in Austria. 

"The best team-mate was Sadio Mane during my time at Red Bull Salzburg," Kampl told Goal and Spox. "He just had everything, the complete package. He was good on the ball, incredibly fast - both with and without the ball. He was dangerous in front of goal and played great passes.

"It was already seen back then that he could become a really great player." 

Mane, now 28, was the joint winner of the Premier League's Golden Boot last season and played a key role in Liverpool's Champions League triumph. Kampl, meanwhile, currently plays in the Bundesliga for Leipzig having spent most of his career in Germany. 

The midfielder's time in Austria at Salzburg under coach Roger Schmidt was however a turning point for Kampl, who identified the German coach as the most influential in his career to date. 

"I benefited the most from Schmidt," Kampl said. "He wanted to sign me when he was still a coach at SC Paderborn and I was still a player at VfL Osnabruck. The transfer failed due to the transfer fee.

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"Shortly afterwards he went to Red Bull Salzburg and I went to VfR Aalen. I was only signed to Aalen for two months before Roger Schmidt brought me to Salzburg. I finally had my breakthrough there." 

Kampl also played under Schmidt at Bayer Leverkusen and the Slovenian admits he wanted to depart the club once the manager did.

"Roger Schmidt's departure contributed to this, but was not the main reason. When he subsequently took on a coaching job in China, I had an exchange with him and almost went with him," he said. "I would have taken this step only because of him, because I would not have got this far without him. Ultimately, however, there was no transfer to China."

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