Roberto Firmino admits to enjoying his “best year as a professional footballer” in 2017-18, with the Liverpool forward starring at home and abroad alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
Having never before been prolific, the former Figueirense and Hoffenheim frontman has taken his game to new heights this season by recording 27 goals in all competitions.
He has also provided 14 assists in his Premier League and Champions League outings, with those efforts carrying the Reds to a top four finish domestically and a final appearance on the continent.
Firmino has always been renowned for his work ethic and boundless energy, but the 26-year-old has added even greater threat to his game this term and is delighted to be holding his own alongside superstar performers at Anfield, Real Madrid and across Europe.
He told UEFA’s official website ahead of a Champions League final clash with Madrid: “Am I happy with having scored 10 goals since the start of the group stage? Very, very.
“Although I am a little bit annoyed, because I always want more and I am never satisfied. However, you cannot beat yourself up about these things all the time and you must always keep moving forward.
“It is my first season in the Champions League and I am one of the leading scorers, alongside Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Mohamed] Salah. This is my best year as a professional footballer.”
Firmino added on the challenge facing Liverpool as they endeavour to prevent Madrid from completing a hat-trick of European triumphs: “We know about Real Madrid. They are always winning titles in the Champions League and in the Spanish league too.
“I've never played against them, but I've watched their games and they're very competitive.
“However, this is a final; a one-off game, a one-off moment. They'll also be up against Liverpool – a team and a club with a great pedigree. We are going to fight until the end.”
Victory over the Blancos would land Firmino his first piece of silverware as a senior professional, and he is determined to get his hands on the grandest prize of all.
“[It would be] a unique moment,” he said.
“It's a very special trophy. If we're fortunate enough to be able to win it, it will be a very emotional moment for me and the whole team.
“We know the club's history and we always aim to perform at a high level to try and continue winning trophies.”