In the past few days, Sadio Mane has been linked with a move to Real Madrid after a brilliant Liverpool career so far has helped him to become one of the best players in the world.
Zinedine Zidane was rumoured to want Mane last summer and the Madrid boss is again rumoured to be chasing the signature of the Senegalese attacker.
Zidane has not enjoyed the same success as he enjoyed first time around at the Bernabeu, where he won three Champions League’s in his first two and a half years.
Zidane has come back to a Real Madrid side without Cristiano Ronaldo and is desperate to fill that void left by the Portuguese.
With Eden Hazard’s debut season hampered by injury, Zidane may be looking for another attacker to play along with Hazard or as a replacement if Zindane cannot trust the injury record of Hazard so far in Madrid.
I question this move however as although Real Madrid are a club that can attract any player with the history attached, Mane is currently playing for the reigning European Champions.
He is also playing for the Premier League runaway leaders who would be champions at the moment if the virus had not stopped football.
Whilst the two big clubs in Spain in Real Madrid and Barcelona have the appeal to attract any footballer, Mane would be daft to leave a team who are playing such good football.
Zidane’s management capabilities are not in question, although you have to consider how he has done at the club without Ronaldo.
However, he is one of the best players in football history and someone who a lot of current football players looked up to in their youth.
There is also a French connected in Senegal and Mane may well have grown up watching Zidane in his prime.
Whilst as a Liverpool fan I would love for Mane to stay forever and feel that moving to Real Madrid would be a move that would bring him less success, I would not be shocked if he moved.
If the season does conclude and Liverpool are crowned Premier League champions then Mane would have won the two biggest trophies available to an English club and perhaps he will want a new challenge.
Mane has recently turned 28 and is not getting any younger so perhaps he wants to experience playing for Real Madrid when he has the chance.
I would ask him to give this a thought and consider other players who left Liverpool in the past and seen their careers take a nose dive.
Whilst Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling have had plenty of success at Barcelona and Man City respectively, there have been plenty of other players who have not been so successful.
Michael Owen left Liverpool in the summer of 2004 and has said in interviews that he joined as he wanted to “try something different”.
He only lasted a year and then saw injuries plague the rest of his career for Newcastle, Man United and Stoke City.
In the year he spent at Real Madrid he was often a bench warmer and also saw his old team mates win a Champions League in the most dramatic fashion.
Emre Can refused to sign a new contract and joined Juventus for free in the summer of 2018. Fast forward a year and a half and he also had to watch his former team mates win a Champions League and build a 25 point gap at the top of the Premier League.
Emre Can was not even included in the 25 man squad for Juventus and secured a loan move to Dortmund. Not quite the career he expected to have after leaving Liverpool.
Robbie Fowler never looked the same after leaving Liverpool, Fernando Torres could argue that he won a Champions League but he never had the same ability after leaving Liverpool, although you could see the decline in his last six months at Anfield.
Raheem Sterling may have won multiple Premier League’s, League Cups and an FA Cup at Man City, he has yet to win the Champions League.
He has seen Man City go out of Europe twice in two years to English opposition who have gone on to reach the final, both years when City were expected to advance.
The conclusion of this is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Mane will need to consider this, especially for someone at his age who relies on his pace.
What you can say for all of the players above is that the majority of them will never have experienced the same love from fans that they got with Liverpool fans.
Mane is not a young prospect and whilst Real Madrid has all the history and attraction, the fans are on you’re back the minute you have a bad game and there is a huge sacking culture at the club with the exception of Zidane.
Mane will have to learn a new language and have to integrate in new surroundings whereas he can stay with Klopp and Liverpool and continue building on what Klopp has done so far.
Mane is already fastly becoming a Liverpool great and staying at the club will only enhance that.
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