Sadio Mane has played down continuing links with Real Madrid by claiming he is happy playing for a Liverpool side who “beat big teams”.
The Senegal international has been a reported target for Zinedine Zidane’s rebuilding project at the Bernabeu for some time.
However, Mane – the Premier League’s joint-top scorer this season with 22 goals – is focusing on Saturday’s Champions League final against Tottenham in Madrid. “Always this is part of football, so we have to deal with it, but for me the most important thing is Liverpool and I’m happy here,” he said of the speculation. “It’s always a pleasure that this kind of team wants (you) but don’t forget Liverpool.
They beat big teams. “I’m preparing for one of the biggest games for the club and the fans and the players as well, so let’s focus on this one first and win it.” After the disappointment of being beaten in last year’s final by Real Madrid in the circumstances they did – losing Mohamed Salah to a shoulder injury and then conceding twice to two freakish goalkeeping errors – there is added motivation for Jurgen Klopp’s players.
And when you factor in that they narrowly missed out on a first league title since 1990, there is even more incentive for them to end the season on a high and bring home a sixth European Cup. “We know we have targets; we want to win the league and the Champions League.
We didn’t win the league but we still have one trophy to play for, so we are going to try to give everything to win it,” Mane added. “We would love to win it (the league) but we have to take it as a positive. It will give us more motivation and even the fans as well.
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So let’s do it together and win this trophy. “I think it’s just incredible and I’m so positive. Of course it (last season’s final) will help with this one because we wanted to win it and it was not the case.
That’s part of football. “At the same time I think it’s positive because many people, even you (the media), didn’t expect us to play this final. “We did it (and) I think we learned a lot from this and now we can use our experience this season to get what we want.”