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Born in Essen, Germany’s sixth largest city, to an athletic family, it is always seemed likely that Leroy would grow up to be an excellent sportsman himself.
His mum, Regina Weber-Sane, is Germany’s only Olympic bronze medallist in rhythmic gymnastics whereas his dad, Souleymane, played for FC Nurnberg and SC Wattenscheid in the 1980s, scoring 51 goals in 174 games in the Bundesliga.
Big club experience
The 20-year-old had a period at Champions League regulars Bayer Leverkusen between 2008-11 before returning to Gelsenkirchen to enhance his development with Schalke.
Having experienced two of Germany’s major clubs at such a young age, Sane is unlikely to be fazed by his new surroundings.
Sane made his debut for the Gelsenkirchen club as a 77th minute substitute for fellow youngster Max Meyer on the 20 April 2014 in Schalke’s 3-1 loss at Vfb Stuttgart.
He made quick progress through the German ranks, making his debut for the senior side just over two months after his first U21 appearance. It was Germany’s 2-0 defeat to France in Paris last November in which Sane made his national debut, replacing Julian Draxler in the 61st minute.
His 2015/16 form earned him a spot in Germany’s EURO 2016 squad, although he only played for 11 minutes as his country chased the semi-final against France.
Leroy is the joint-youngest player to score in the Champions League for Schalke tied with both Julian Draxler and Max Meyer. He earned his place on the list when he scored during Schalke’s 4-3 win against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on 10 March 2015.
“I never wanted to be an astronaut,” he told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015. “When I was 16 or 17, I didn’t go to parties. I had only one hobby – the ball.”
The winger has a reputation for being fairly direct. He was the only player to attempt more than 100 dribbles in the Bundesliga in 2016 at an average of 2.8 successful dribbles per game throughout the season, according to WhoScored.com.
Only Dele Alli (19), Ousmane Dembele (17) and Anthony Martial (16) were directly involved in more goals than Sane (14) of all players aged 21 or under in Europe’s top five leagues last season.
Pep Guardiola has always spoke of how he prefers his players to be capable of filling in across the pitch and Sane fits that perfectly, equally adept at playing in any advanced midfield role.
The youngster has played similar amounts of time in central attacking midfield, left wing and right wing positions throughout his career at both junior and senior levels.
Speaking in November of last year before his Bayern side were due to face Schalke, he said: “Sane is a huge talent and I can only congratulate Germany to have a talent like him.”
Guardiola is not the only well-renowned manager to have publicly praised Sane. His Germany boss Joachim Low spoke highly of the 20-year-old before Euro 2016.
“Leroy has an amazing ability to exploit open spaces. With his pace and his finishing, he is a player with a special gift,” said Low.
You can find a collection of photos from Leroy’s personal and professional life on his official Instagram account; @leroysane19.
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