Former Liverpool player Sadio Mane (that’ll take some getting used to!) has hailed Luis Diaz in his exit interview with the club.
Mane spoke to liverpoolfc.com after completing his move to Bayern Munich this afternoon. As he looked back on his six years at Anfield, Mane was asked about his partnership with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
After praising his long-time attacking colleagues, Mane also paid tribute to Diogo Jota and in particular Luis Diaz.
“These two players, Liverpool still have great players,” said the 30-year-old. “And you have now Diogo and Diaz also – wow, what a player they have!”
Mane passes the torch to Diaz
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Diaz was brought in as Mane’s direct replacement.
In that respect, it’s useful that the Colombian had six months or so to acclimatise to Liverpool, and also to learn from Mane.
The two played together on numerous occasions, with Mane taking up a more central role. Hopefully Diaz managed to glean something from his older teammate that he can take with him into next season.
If he aims to build on the success of the early part of his Liverpool career, then Sadio is the perfect role model.
It’s even possible that Diaz takes Mane’s old number 10 shirt as he settles into life as an undisputed starter. It’ll weigh heavy initially, but Diaz is a fearless player who could easily make the number his own.
In his younger years Mane had the same pace that could frighten the life out of defences. As he moves on, he couldn’t have passed the torch to a more fitting successor.
Should Diaz have even half the success that Mane enjoyed at Anfield, we’ve got some ride to look forward to.