Sadio Mane says he first told Liverpool of his desire to leave the Premier League club last year, explaining that wanted to test himself elsewhere.
Just crowned Africa’s men’s Player of the Year for a second time, the 30-year-old signed a three-year deal with 32-time German champions Bayern Munich in June.
“It was last year I took my decision to leave because I need a new challenge in my life,” Mane told BBC Sport Africa.
“For me, it was the right time. I spoke with the coach [Jurgen Klopp] one year ago and talked to him about my desire to leave.
“If you see my story, I came from a small town – my life was always a challenge, so I want to challenge myself all the time.”
Mane comes from the small town of Bambali, which has a population of 2,000, in the southern Senegalese region of Casamance, from where he ran away in secret aged 16 to try to find a club.
On Thursday, he was acclaimed as Africa’s best player for a second time, seeing off compatriot and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy as well as former team-mate Mohamed Salah of Egypt.
After joining in 2016, he won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.
“I spent eight years in the Premier League, and of course, I spent six wonderful years with Liverpool and I can say we won almost everything possible,” Mane added.