Madrid - Sadio Mane admits he is flattered by suggested interest from Real
Madrid but insists he is happy at Liverpool and fully focused on trying
to help them win the Champions League.
Reports from Spain in recent weeks have suggested that Real want to
bring the Senegal forward and Manchester United's French midfielder Paul
Pogba to the Bernabeu.
Mane will be in action across the city on Saturday, at Atletico
Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano home, which will host the Champions League
final between Liverpool and Tottenham.
The 27-year-old has scored 17 goals in 24 matches for his club since
the turn of the year, and is expected to lead his country's attack in
Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts in late June.
As he prepared for Saturday's European final, Mane was asked about interest from Real Madrid, and did not dismiss it altogether.
He did, though, insist that Liverpool's progress to the Champions
League final – which has seen them knock out Napoli, Bayern Munich,
Porto and Barcelona - is a sign of their standing in the European game.
"This is part of football, so we have to deal with it," said Mane.
"But for me, the more important thing is that I am with Liverpool and
I am very happy here, and I am preparing for one of the club's biggest
"Let's focus on this first, and on winning it.
"It's always a pleasure for this kind of team to want you, but Liverpool, don't forget, we beat big teams."
Mane scored for Liverpool in last season's Champions League final,
which ended in the disappointment of a 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in
This time, they go to the final attempting to bounce back from the
disappointment of a first English league title since 1990, having
finished one point adrift of Manchester City despite dropping only 17
points all season.
'Learned a lot'
Liverpool’s total of 97
points is the highest ever accrued by an English top-flight team without
winning the league, but Mane says that near-miss has not dampened their
"We're so positive in our way. We have our targets, of course. We wanted to win the league, and the Champions League.
"We didn't win the league but we still have one trophy to go so we are going to try to give everything to win it."
Mane remembers well the mood of dejection among the players as they
waited at the airport in Kiev to fly home after last season’s Champions
League final defeat, and suggested that drove them on to reach this
"Yeah, of course," he said.
"We were a little bit disappointed last year because we wanted to win
it. But it wasn't the case. That's part of football. But at the same
time, it's important to be positive.
"Many people, even you (the media), didn't expect us to play in this final, and we did it.
"So now I think we have learned a lot from this, and I hope we're
going to use our experience this season to get to where we want to be."
Liverpool face a Tottenham side who finished 26 points behind them in
the Premier League, but Mane is wary of opponents who knocked domestic
champions Manchester City out of Europe at the quarter-final stage in
He is looking for Liverpool to use their previous experience of playing in the Champions League final to give them an advantage.
"Every time it makes it easier," he said.
"But we expect a very difficult game because Tottenham are a very good team.
"We are also very good, so let's see an exciting game, and let's see
what's going to happen. I'm sure we will give everything to get what we