Sadio Mané happy at Liverpool but says Real Madrid links are a ‘pleasure’

• Mané calls reaching second Champions League final ‘incredible’
• Defeat in 2018 final and Premier League agony a motivation

Sadio Mané has said links with Real Madrid are not a distraction because he is happy at Liverpool and with their “incredible” appearance in a second successive Champions League final.

The Liverpool forward has been regularly touted in the Spanish media as a transfer target for Real as Zinedine Zidane commences a much-needed overhaul of the squad. Liverpool have not received nor would entertain an approach for the joint-winner of this season’s Premier League Golden Boot, however, and Mané has reiterated his contentment with life at Anfield.

The 27-year-old signed a new five-year contract this season, describing his commitment to the club until 2023 as “the best decision in my career”, and that view has been strengthened by the team’s latest shot at European success under Jürgen Klopp.

Mané said: “This is always part of football so we have to deal with it but for me the most important thing is Liverpool and I’m happy here. 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. It’s always a pleasure that this kind of team wants you but don’t forget Liverpool. We beat big teams.”

That list includes Barcelona, who finished 19 points above Real in winning La Liga, and Mané believes Liverpool’s form throughout the campaign gives cause for confidence against Tottenham. Missing out on the Premier League title by a point from Manchester City is, he insisted, an extra motivation to win in Madrid.

Alisson Goalkeeper 

Season apps 50 

The great-grandson of an amateur goalkeeper in his hometown, the Brazil No 1 replaced his brother, Muriel, at Internacional.

Trent Alexander-Arnold Right-back 

Season apps 40 Goals 1

When Liverpool last won the Champions League in 2005, he had just signed for the club as a six-year-old.  

Andy Robertson Left-back 

Apps 51 Goals 0

Released by Celtic aged 15, he worked at M&S in Glasgow while playing as an amateur for Queen’s Park. Has never lost a Liverpool game at Anfield.

 Virgil van Dijk Centre-back

Apps 53 Goals 6

World’s most expensive defender at £75m. Worked as a dishwasher at the Oncle Jean restaurant in Breda when he was 16.

 Joël Matip Centre-back 

Apps 30 Goals 1

Born in Bochum, he represented his father’s country, Cameroon, before retiring from international duty in 2015. 

Dejan Lovren Centre-back 

Apps 18 Goals 1

Said he should be recognised as “one of the best defenders in the world” after helping Croatia to the World Cup final. His family escaped to Germany during the Bosnian war.  

Joe Gomez Centre-back
Apps 24 Goals 0

The versatile defender joined Liverpool from Charlton, where he made his first-team debut aged 17. Has represented England at every level.  

Georginio Wijnaldum Midfielder
Apps 46 Goals 5

His double against Barcelona sent Liverpool to the final. Started his career at Sparta Rotterdam, where his younger brother, Giliano, plays. 

Fabinho Midfielder 

Apps 40 Goals 1

Before joining Monaco, the Brazilian had a spell on loan at Real Madrid from Rio Ave in 2013, making one appearance. 

Jordan Henderson Midfielder

Apps 45 Goals 1

Given his England debut by Fabio Capello. The only English player to miss in the World Cup shootout against Colombia. 

James Milner Midfielder
Apps 44 Goals 7

Last season, his nine assists broke the record for a single Champions League campaign. He is England’s most-capped under-21 international.

Mohamed Salah Forward
Apps 51 Goals 26

Was excused military service in Egypt to focus on football. The fastest Liverpool player to score 50 Premier League goals, taking 69 matches. 

Roberto Firmino Forward
Apps 47 Goals 16

He used to help his father in the family business selling water bottles. Was the Bundesliga’s 2013-14 breakthrough player of the year.

Sadio Mané Forward 

Apps 49 Goals 26

Scored the fastest Premier League hat-trick for Southampton against Aston Villa in 2015 in two minutes and 56 seconds.  

Divock Origi Forward
Apps 20 Goals 6

His father played 120 times for Kenya. His double against Barcelona was the first time he'd scored in the Champions League.

Xherdan Shaqiri Forward
Apps 30 Goals 6

The only player in the Liverpool squad to have won the Champions League.

Harry Vavasour

The Senegal forward added: “I think it’s incredible [to be in another final] and I’m so positive. We know we have targets – we wanted 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. Everybody’s ready to win.

“We would have loved to win the league but we have to take it as a positive. It will give us more motivation.”

Mané believes the three-week break between the domestic season and the Champions League final has “refreshed everyone”, and Liverpool will “go to Madrid with fresh legs”.

He admits the manner of defeat in Kiev 12 months ago can also help the bookmakers’ favourite on Saturday.

“I think we learned a lot from that final and now we can use our experience to get what we want,” he said. “Every time it makes it easier. We know how to deal with this kind of situation now.”