In a season shaken up by the pandemic, Leroy Sane took the decision to prioritize the next one.
Spurning the chance to resume the Champions League with Manchester City, the winger decided to take the first opportunity to launch the next stage in his career at Bayern Munich, with a five-year deal confirmed early July.
Had the coronavirus not intervened to prevent the season finishing in May, Sane could have tried to lift the European Cup with City before heading home to Germany.
“Obviously it was hard for me to say no to the Champions League — for everyone it is a dream to play in the Champions League,” Sane said Thursday on a video call from Munich.
Missing the second leg of City’s last-16 game against Real Madrid next month, Sane is also ineligible for a Bayern side protecting a 3-0 advantage over Chelsea.
“If (City) win (the Champions League) then I’m happy for the club, for the team, for all my friends there,” Sane said. “But this was the way that I took. If it really happens, I don’t really think I will suffer a lot because I made the decision and nobody else.”
At 24, Sane believes his time will come again in the Champions League.
“It makes more sense to just come here early to settle in,” he said, "and to find a new home, prepare really good for the next season because everyone knows how difficult this season was.”
It was a season Sane might have expected to spend at Bayern but he sustained a knee ligament injury last August in the Community Shield.
“The talks were just starting," said Sane, who spent four years at City after joining from Schalke.
Sane only returned to action for City against Burnley in June after the three-month Premier League shutdown, coming on as a substitute before bidding farewell as City agreed to a transfer deal worth up to 60 million euros ($70 million).
Sane has left a team that has just surrendered the Premier League trophy to Liverpool for one that has won the last eight German league titles. He will be wearing the No. 10 jersey previously worn by Arjen Robben.
“I take it as a good opportunity to improve more and to know there is a lot of pressure with the number,” Sane said. "But I take it more with joy and keep going and try my best.”