Sadio Mané has promised to give “the best answer you want to hear” about his future at Liverpool after Saturday’s Champions League final and hopes a win against Real Madrid would improve his prospects, only Africa’s second To become a national player winning the Ballon d’Or.
The Liverpool striker is out of contract in 2023 along with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino and, unlike the Egypt international, has refused to reveal where he will play next season.
Mané promised in several interviews at Liverpool’s Champions League media day on Wednesday that he would announce a decision after the Paris final. However, the 30-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich, has hinted it will be a positive result for Liverpool. Fenway Sports Group, the club’s owners, are keen to extend Mané and Salah’s stellar careers at Anfield.
Mané said: “To be honest, I can now answer you that I feel very good and I am fully focused on Saturday’s game. That’s the answer I have to give before the final. But come back to me on Saturday and I’ll be sure to give you the best answer you want to hear. It’s something special. I will then give you everything you want to hear. Now let’s win ’cause I don’t have time for other things. I’ll do everything to win it because it’s my biggest dream and every boy’s dream, then I’ll give you the answers.”
A second Champions League triumph with Liverpool would add to an already impressive season for Mané, who won the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, guided his country to the World Cup finals and won the FA and Carabao Cups. The achievements have bolstered his claims to winning the 2022 Ballon d’Or, but Mané bemoaned the lack of African representation at an award dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the past 13 years. Liberia’s George Weah became the first and only winner to date to play for an African national team in 1995. Eusébio, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1965, was born in Mozambique but played internationally for Portugal.
When asked if he thought African players were being ignored in the vote, Mané replied: “That’s true, that’s sad. This trophy, the Africa Cup of Nations, is the biggest trophy I’ve won in my life and for an African player who hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or since George Weah, that’s obviously sad.”
He hopes Saturday’s final could tip the vote in his favour. “We will do everything to win it and then we will see what happens with the Ballon d’Or,” he said. “I think me and all Liverpool players have goals at the beginning of the season, which is to get all the trophies. So far we’ve won two and missed one which is now behind us and Manchester City fully deserve it. And winning the Champions League would be something special for me and all the other guys.
“That’s what we’re concentrating on and we have to do everything we can to win. You have to decide the rest. It would be even more special for me to have another bonus, which is the Ballon d’Or and I would be the happiest player in the world.”
Mané insists there is no pressure on Liverpool and, despite scoring in the 2018 final defeat by Real, doesn’t feel he has any unfinished business. “I’m not looking for revenge,” he said. “Real Madrid absolutely deserve to win this Champions League.
“They were the better team in the game. I’ve forgotten it. That was four years ago, wasn’t it? There have been many changes, we have more quality and we know better how to win the big games, how to control them. We are a different team and this will be a game that will be different from any other.”