Sadio Mane: Senegal forward hints at Liverpool stay as he promises ‘special’ answer over his future
Sadio Mane says he will give a “special” answer over his Liverpool future after Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich have both been linked with Mane, 30, who enters the final year of his contract in June.
However, Liverpool are hopeful of retaining the Senegal forward who has already won the Africa Cup of Nations, Carabao Cup and FA Cup this term.
“I think the answer I can give you now is I feel very good,” said Mane.
“I am fully focused on Saturday’s game, that is the answer I must give before the final. But come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It’s special. I will give you all you want to hear then.
“I love what I am doing and I sacrifice myself all the time. I am working hard every single day on the pitch and in the gym and I get better and better, that’s the most important. I am trying my best to help the team.”
Alongside fellow forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, who turn 30 and 31 in June and October respectively, Mane has been integral to Liverpool’s success in recent years.
The trio helped the club win the Champions League in 2019 and then end a 30-year wait for a top-flight title in the following season.
However, all three can leave for free next summer, with Mane preferring not be drawn on his future when asked what would happen if Real, who can start negotiating from January 2023 as an overseas club, were to approach him.
“Good question, but what I want to say now is I am fully focused on the Champions League and winning it, which is far more important for me and the Liverpool fans,” he said.
“I will do everything absolutely possible to win the game for Liverpool.
“I think we all forgot about what happened in 2018. For sure Real Madrid were the better team then and deserved to win the game, but it is going to be a different game.”
Ballon d’Or candidate?
An influential performance in the final would likely elevate Mane’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or, given he was also central to Senegal’s success in February.
He is hoping to become only the second African after George Weah in 1995 to win the award, although Salah will also provide competition.
“It’s true. If you guys say it, what can I say myself? Which is sad,” added Mane on the lack of African winners.
“This cup, the Africa Cup of Nations is one of the biggest for myself, it is the biggest trophy I have won in my life, and for an African player not to have won the Ballon d’Or since George Weah it is sad for sure.
“Winning the Champions League is special. I have a chance to play it again and we will do everything we can to win it and then we will see what happens, with the Ballon d’Or.”