Monaco winger Keita Balde has praised "amazing" Sadio Mane for his impressive performances for Liverpool this season and he thinks the 2019 African Footballer of the Year will soon become a Reds legend.
Mane has proven to be a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s team with his attacking contributions that have seen him return 18 goals across all competitions this term.
He played a crucial role in the Reds’ victorious European campaign in 2018-19 where they won the Uefa Champions League, and then the Uefa Super Cup.
With Liverpool nearing the end of the wait for their first top-flight title in 30 years this campaign, Balde believes Mane has already written his name into the club’s history books.
“It's a big achievement for a Senegal player but we cannot forget he is already a Champions League winner and the best African player of 2019. He is an amazing guy,” he told Sky Sports.
“We are close friends and I'm very proud of him. He is in the history of Liverpool so it's not difficult for him to become a legend.”
After an initial suspension, and unlike Ligue 1 which was cancelled in May due to coronavirus pandemic, other European leagues including the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga have resumed and Balde reacted to the development.
“It was a bit strange to see everyone coming back to play. In France we are going to start a new pre-season next week so there's not much time to think about that,” he continued.
“The only thing I can say now is I'm very happy football is coming back because it means that life is coming back too.
“I will be focused on my team and approaching the new season with a good mentality and reaching my best level.
“I'm 25, I'm a father now and I've matured as a man and as a player. It's time to step up and make the difference again.”
The Senegal international played in Italy with Inter Milan and Lazio before switching to Monaco, where he scored four goals in 21 Ligue 1 appearances before the 2019-20 season was cancelled.
The Catalonia-born striker disclosed that the Premier League and La Liga are the competitions he dreams of playing in, in the future.
“I was born in Spain and grew up in Barcelona but I have never played in La Liga,” he said.
“I became a football player and a man in Serie A with Lazio and then I moved to Monaco and played in Ligue 1. I like experiencing new places and facing new challenges.
“Of course, the Premier League and La Liga are great challenges for every ambitious player. Now I want to enjoy next season with Monaco and improve myself.”