Sadio Mane may be tempted by a move to Real Madrid “in a year or two”, claims Senegal team-mate Keita Balde, with the Liverpool star not expected to stick around at Anfield “forever”.
A highly-rated forward is approaching four years of service on Merseyside.
Across 161 appearances, Mane has found the target on 77 occasions – with those efforts contributing to Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup triumphs.
Transfer talk has started to rage around him of late, despite being tied to a contract through to 2023.
That is not all that surprising, with Mane having come into contention for Ballon d’Or recognition as he cements a standing among the finest performers on the planet.
Monaco star Balde told AS of his fellow countryman: “He’s a great boy. He deserves the best.
“He is humble and nobody has given him anything. He deserves to be where he is today.”
Mane has offered no indication that he is considering a move away from Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp bringing the best out of him.
Balde added: “We haven’t talked about football, really. I know he’s very good there.
“The coach loves him very much. He has given a lot to Liverpool and Liverpool to him.
“Something very attractive has to come for him to leave Liverpool. A big team would have to come and promise him many things to think about it. There are few teams like Liverpool.”
While an extended stay in England remains the most likely option for now, Balde concedes that Mane’s head could be turned at some stage as he seeks another challenge in a distinguished career.
He added: “It depends on many things. I don’t know what his decision is. In a year or two, he may want to change.
“I don’t think he wants to be there forever. He is a smart boy and he knows what is good for him and what he has to do. But in Madrid, they are giving out many names.”
Mane is one of several names to have been thrown into the transfer pot when it comes to Real Madrid, with the Blancos forever in the market for talent that fits their ‘Galacticos’ mould.