Leroy Sane's rise and fall, from Prem's Young Player of the Year to being booed by his own Bayern Munich fans
WHEN Leroy Sane made his Premier League debut in the Manchester Derby five years ago, it seemed Pep Guardiola had unearthed a gem.
But injuries, a transfer and one controversial international snub has left the 25-year-old at a crossroads in his once promising career.
Sane endured a tricky spell at Bayern Munich following his £54.8million move from Manchester City last summer.
The German winger was BOOED by his own fans after being hauled off in the team's 3-2 win against Koln earlier in the season, and is yet to meet the required standard.
Sane failed to light up the Bundesliga last term as Bayern defended their title, scoring just six league goals in 32 outings.
The talent seems a shadow of his former self, previously entertaining fans with unstoppable runs, elegant play and supreme confidence.
City signed Sane from Schalke in August 2016, spending a £46.5m on the player after a breakthrough season in the Bundesliga.
That was an eye-catching fee at the time – 12 months before Neymar's £198m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain inflated the market.
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The Germany international enjoyed a steady first season in England, with injuries restricting him to just 26 Premier League appearances.
But Sane managed to avoid any lengthy spells the following year – resulting in a phenomenal campaign for himself and his employers.
Guardiola's dominant City team stormed to the Premier League title, picking up a record 100 points thanks to the brilliance of the winger.
Sane scored 10 goals in 32 Prem appearances, winning the illustrious PFA Young Player of the Year award ahead of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
But the youngster suffered the first major setback of his career just days after City's triumph, courtesy of Germany coach Joachim Low.
Sane was astonishingly left out of the manager's 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia in favour of Bayer Leverkusen ace Julian Brandt.
Football fans across Europe were left in shock by Low's move, with several pundits criticising the player's omission.
And it's believed Sane was left at home due to his attitude and not his footballing ability – raising huge question marks about his future.
He managed to recover by inspiring City to another Prem title, scoring 10 more league goals, but his days under Guardiola were numbered.
Sane reportedly told his club team-mates he wanted to leave in August 2019 following weeks of rumours linking him with Bayern.
But his Bavarian dream was scuppered when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury just days later in the Community Shield.
Sane missed nearly all of the 2019-20 campaign and, although he eventually got his move to Bayern, he's yet to return to his best.
Despite his struggles, Sane still has four years left on his Bayern contract and remains a huge asset to the club.
Manager Julian Nagelsmann believes the player has a future at the Allianz Arena and wants to get the best out of him by adapting his role.
The new Bayern coach plans on switching Sane from the right flank to the opposite side, allowing him to be more direct on his stronger left boot.
Nagelsmann told Bild: "On the right, Leroy often has the situation that he wants the ball in his foot and then has to play with his back to the goal – he doesn't have the best quality there.
"When he plays on the left, he has a little more depth, the game often in front of him, it is easier for him."
Leroy definitely has the absolute support from us in the team and I hope that this can also be carried over to the ranks.
Nagelsmann also defended Sane's attitude, adding: "Not everything went well for him, but he was very committed and I find that very valuable.
"All is well. This is the first step for him, that he becomes aware of the great quality he has and what he is not quite so good at."
Sane's form, fitness and future are all being questioned right now – and there's no guarantee he can replicate his City form in the coming months.
But with the support of his manager and time on his side, the winger still has a chance to silence the doubters and rule German football.
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