Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has slammed former Liverpool forward Dean Saunders over comments that Sadio Mane will ‘ruin’ his best years as a footballer by signing for Bayern Munich.
A host of former British players have questioned the logic behind Mane’s £35.1million move to the Bundesliga giants, following a successful six-year stint at Anfield.
The comments made by Saunders, who said Mane could play ‘in third gear and with a cigar sitting in an armchair’ in Germany, were brought to the attention of Watzke.
Dean Saunders claimed that Mane would ‘ruin his best years’ by leaving Liverpool for Germany
Hans-Joachim Watzke has labelled ex-Liverpool player Saunders as an ‘arrogant idiot’
As reported by German publication BILD, Watzke fired back as he said: ‘There are always some arrogant idiots like this one.
‘As a member of the board of Europe’s club association, ECA, I know that German football still has a good reputation.
‘The English didn’t win any of the three European Cup titles in the past season.’
Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt won the Europa League last season after their penalty shootout victory over Rangers in the final.
The closest any English side came to major European glory was Liverpool, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in May’s Champions League final.
Chelsea were the only team to win any European silverware last season in the form of the Super Cup at the start of the last campaign.
Sadio Mane completed his £35.1million switch from Liverpool to Bayern Munich last week
A number of ex-players have questioned why Mane would leave Liverpool for the Bundesliga
Saunders, who made 61 appearances for Liverpool between July 1991 and September 1992, had told talkSport: ‘Nothing against the club (Bayern Munich), it’s a great club, but the league is nowhere near a challenge for Mane.
‘He’ll get goals. They win 5-0 every week, only one team can win the league.
‘It’s not a challenge. He will get in his armchair, light a cigar up, he’ll play for Bayern in third gear and he’ll coast for two years and ruin the best two years of his life as a footballer.’
Saunders was not the only former Liverpool player to question the move, as Michael Owen tweeted: ‘I’m still struggling to understand why Sadio Mane would leave Liverpool for Bayern Munich but he’s been an outstanding player, given great service and will go down as a club legend.’
Watzke pointed out that English teams failed to win the three major European cups last season
Former Rangers and Scotland legend Ally McCoist, was also left bemused, as he told talkSport: ‘Is it because he wants to play in another country? Possibly. Is he going to a better league? No. Is he going to a more competitive league? No. Is he going to a better team? No. I find it very strange.
‘The only thing I can see is the lure, the size of the club, Bayern Munich, is that something he’s always wanted to do?
‘I could actually understand it more if it had been Real Madrid or Barcelona. I could understand that a little bit more, because of maybe the lure of one of those club’s, particularly Real Madrid.’
Ally McCoist was bemused as to why Mane would leave the ‘better league’ and ‘better team’
Paul Merson also said he ‘couldn’t see why’ Mane was making the move as he told the Daily Star: ‘It seems clear Sadio Mane has his heart set on a move to Bayern Munich but I can’t for the life of me see why.
‘The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and there are no guarantees that he will be as successful in Germany as he has been with Liverpool.’
Despite questions surrounding his move, Mane said he ‘didn’t think twice’ about joining Bayern.
He said at his unveiling last week: ‘I spoke with my agent and the project was the best for me, even though I had other offers. Bayern is the right club and it was the right moment to move on and come here to do my best and help the team win more trophies.
‘I met the coach which was really important to know the project. When he talked to me about the team, the way they play and tactics, I was fascinated.
‘I saw myself straightaway in it. I didn’t think twice. It’s the team for me. I see myself in that team and I think I can help the team achieve things together.’