With 134 games and 39 goals for Manchester City already under his belt, Leroy Sané turns 24 on Saturday – and there have already been plenty of highlights for the electric forward. To celebrate his birthday, we count down ten key moments in Sané’s Etihad career so far, and give ourselves a little reminder of what we could see from him in the second half of the season.
10. Arriving vs Arsenal
It wasn’t the fastest of starts for Sané at Manchester City, and he had to wait until the middle of December to grab his first goal for the club, but the German couldn’t have picked a better moment.
With the Blues trailing 1-0 at home to the Gunners, Sané latched onto a ball over the top from David Silva to roll cooly past Petr Cech. This was our first glimpse of Sané’s true potential as an out-and-out goalscorer, and it gave him the confidence to go on and grab another 38 goals for the club.
City went on to win the game 2-1 and Leroy didn’t look back…
9. Dismantling the Seagulls
Few players have ever managed three assists in a single Premier League game, and fewer still have done it as an U23. Yet that’s exactly what Sané did when Brighton came to the Etihad, in Yaya Touré’s final game for the club.
After setting up Danilo’s opener with a sumptuous through-ball, the winger’s cross found Bernardo Silva for two, before he rounded off a superb display by teeing up Fernandinho to seal it. Sané won the PFA Young Player of the Year award that season – another award for an already illustrious cabinet.
8. Volleying Home At Goodison
Remember the scene: it’s the tail end of the 2017/18 season and Pep Guardiola’s Centurions-to-be travel to Goodison Park knowing a win would put them just three points away from sealing the title. The Citizens needed a quick start against a bogey team and Sané obliged.
With less than four minutes on the clock, Leroy sweetly met a David Silva cross to volley in a wonderful opener from distance. His goal set up City to win the match 1-3 and will go down as one of many vital moments in an historic season.
7. Breaking Through The Eagles
At the end of a frustrating first half of defending at home to Crystal Palace, Manchester City needed a moment of magic to open the scoring. In the final seconds before the break, Sané managed to dink the ball over the defender, with a slight deflection off of his head, before slipping the ball into the net.
Without this flicker of creativity, the match could have turned out differently, but after the break the Eagles went to pieces and City came away 5-0 winners. In one of several big wins from that season, Sané was the catalyst that opened the defence up.
6. Sealing the Deal vs Monaco
Every City fan will long remember the insane 5-3 win at home to Monaco in Pep Guardiola’s first season at the Etihad, but some will have forgotten how big a role Sané played in the tie.
After setting up Raheem Sterling’s opening goal (and famously celebrating as if he’d scored himself), Leroy was perfectly positioned to grab the last goal of the game and give his side a two-goal lead going into the second leg (which turned out… not so well).
Arms outstretched, Sané’s passionate celebration will live on in the memories of fans – and as a tattoo on his back!
5. Turning Newcastle Inside-Out
While most moments on this list are goals, we had to include one of the most incredible assists in City’s time in the Premier League.
Like Kevin de Bruyne has done on many occasions, this is a goal where the assist is far more memorable than the finish!
Surrounded by three Newcastle defenders, the German darted into the penalty area, waltzed back to trick the opponents and nutmegged another player, before teeing up Agüero to score.
This may just be the best example yet of Sané’s genius dribbling skills, and how he offers a weapon nobody else in the squad has!
4. Finishing off Liverpool
True, Liverpool were already 3-0 down at the Etihad when Sané came on in September 2017, but he starred as City completed the Reds’ humiliation. His first goal, a smart finish at the end of a one-two with newly signed Benjamin Mendy, couldn’t hold a candle to what came next.
As the clock ticked down, Sané cut the ball onto his left foot from well outside the penalty area and curled a superb finish past the goalkeeper to put further shine on an incredible result.
One of Leroy’s best ever goals for City was also one of his least important – but it still ranks highly on this list.
3. Turning It Around vs Hoffenheim
Nobody likes seeing their team lose to a weaker side in the Champions League – especially at home. That’s why we were all extremely grateful when Sané single-handedly turned around the game against Hoffenheim and got his side all three points.
After an early penalty had put the visitors in front, Sané hammered home a free-kick from range, before dodging the onrushing ‘keeper on the hour mark to win City the game. For a younger player to flip a European game on its head like that is certainly impressive, and this goes down as one of Sané’s finest performances for the club.
2. Smashing Home vs Schalke
Forget that the second leg ended 7-0; at the time this felt like one of the most vital goals of the season. With the Blues trailing 2-1 late on in Germany, we needed something very special. We should have known that, against his old club, Sané would always be the man to deliver.
While his first free-kick against Hoffenheim was sublime, this one was even better. The German rifled the dead ball into the back of the net to equalise with five minutes to go, giving Raheem Sterling the opportunity to win us the game (which he did). It wasn’t just a crucial strike- it was a beauty too.
1. Match-Winning Goal Against Liverpool
One of the most important goals City have scored since Kompany, Touré and Agüero at the Spring of 2012 came as the Citizens welcomed Liverpool to the Etihad. To have any hope of winning a second consecutive Premier League title, City needed to beat Klopp’s men – but Roberto Firmino’s second-half equaliser put a spanner in the works.
Sané won the game, and the league, with a moment that perfectly illustrates his cool head in pressured situations. He latched onto Sterling’s through-ball and drove an inch-perfect shot past Alisson and into the net via the post.
Without this goal, City would surely have one fewer title and Liverpool could have matched their 100-point tally. It was the highlight of the season, and Sané’s City career so far!
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