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How Klopp brilliantly handled midfielder leaving for Real Madrid – and why his Liverpool career flopped

Date Posted,August 15, 2017

Former Liverpool loanee Nuri Sahin has spoken glowingly of how Jurgen Klopp reacted when he asked to leave Borussia Dortmund for Real Madrid.

Sahin was at Dortmund under Klopp and helped them win the Bundesliga title in 2011, performances which caught Real Madrid’s attention.

And the Turkey international – who spent six months on loan at Liverpool in 2012-13 – has spoken of how the news was greeted by his manager.

Sahin wrote on The Players’ Tribune : “After we won the Bundesliga in 2011, I got a text from my agent: ‘Hey Nuri, Real Madrid wants you’,

“There was a part of me that wanted to say no. Dortmund had given me so much – how could I leave them? It was hard to think about. I lost sleep.

Jurgen Klopp during his Borussia Dortmund glory days (Image: Clive Rose)

“I talked for hours with my wife and family. But I had to speak with Dortmund’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, before I could decide. I will remember our conversation forever.

“’Nuri, it is your choice,’ he told me. ‘But if you leave, you must know, I will always be on your side. You are my friend forever.’

“’If I stay,’ I said, ‘I will think about life in Madrid. I will be in Dortmund physically, but mentally… I’ll be lost. I couldn’t live like that.’

“And I told him that I only had one life to live – that I didn’t want to regret any part of it.

Jurgen understood, and he told me to follow my heart.”

Nuri Sahin back in action for Borussia Dortmund (Image: Stuart Franklin)

An injury in his first training session set the tone for a difficult time at Bernabeu, with Sahin making only 10 appearances and scoring one goal in the 2011-12 season.

Brendan Rodgers took the player on loan the following campaign but, after three goals and 12 appearances, his loan deal was terminated and he returned to Dortmund.

“I went on loan to Liverpool to try to get back to the level I knew I could play at,” said Sahin.

“In England, I felt even further from home. I wasn’t playing well – something was missing from my game. I couldn’t really figure it out.

“But then it sort of dawned on me: I wasn’t missing something from my game, I was missing something from my life.

“I needed to be part of the family at Dortmund again. The people there are the reason I played football like I do.

“My agent made some calls, and a few weeks later I was on my way back home.”

Sahin, who later made the return to Dortmund permanent, added: “I wasn’t sure how the Yellow Wall would receive me when I came back. It had hurt them when I left, I knew that.

“I was a substitute in my first match back. I was warming up on the sidelines, and right before I was going to head onto the pitch, Jurgen called me over: ‘Nuri… close your eyes. Can you hear that?’

“I turned to the Yellow Wall and closed my eyes. They were singing my name.

“’I really thought they were going to hate you,’ Jurgen said. And then he let out his classic booming laugh. He messed up my hair, pushed me out onto the pitch and the crowd erupted.”

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