Sadio Mane’s the man for Real Madrid: Christian Karembeu
Former World Cup winner also backs his old club to wrest the Champions League from Sadio's Reds
Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane's stock has risen sharply, following his performances in recent seasons.
His scintillating showings have earned him an admirer in former France international Christian Karembeu, who has urged his former team Real Madrid to sign the Reds star.
Karembeu, who played for Real from 1997-2000, when he won the Champions League twice, made the comments during a conference call organised by La Liga for journalists around the world.
When asked which player he would sign for Real if given a choice, the 49-year-old La Liga ambassador replied without hesitation: "Mane. Mane. Mane. Sadio Mane, for sure.
"To me, he is a very efficient and complete player, and of course, he recently won the award for the best player in Africa. He has all the abilities and talent to be with Real Madrid."
Mane was largely in the shadow of fellow African Mohamed Salah previously, but has recently come to the fore.
Over the last two campaigns, he has been in supreme form for Liverpool, with whom he signed a long-term contract in November 2018.
He ended the previous season by winning the Champions League, and his tally of 22 goals saw him bag the English Premier League's Golden Boot award, alongside Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
This season, he has already contributed 11 goals in 20 EPL games.
Besides being named African Player of the Year for the first time last week, the Senegalese also helped Liverpool add the Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup to their trophy collection.
While Karembeu waxed lyrical over Mane, he appeared to temper his opinion of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.
Last June, he told Spanish media that "Pogba was ready for Real".
But, when asked by The New Paper if he thought his compatriot was still the missing piece in Zinedine Zidane's Real jigsaw, Karembeu sang a different tune this time.
He said: "To answer the question - (Federico) Valverde is the answer. We have mentioned Pogba before, but I don't know about his injuries and whether he is available to play.
"We need to be careful because today, Valverde is playing very well and he was the best player in the recent competition (Spanish Super Cup)."
Valverde was sent off in the Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid, but the 21-year-old Uruguayan midfielder was still named Man of the Match as Real pipped their local rivals 4-1 after a penalty shoot-out.
Karembeu believes that will not be the only trophy in Real's cabinet this season, as he threw his support behind former teammate Zidane.
The duo were part of the Les Bleus squad that won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship.
Zidane's Real are tied on 40 points with leaders Barcelona in La Liga, but are second on goal difference. They will face English champions Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 next month.
Said Karembeu: "I believe that Real could again win the Champions League. There has been a good change since Zidane has been back.
"He has talented players at the club and he has done well to integrate new players. We are waiting for Eden Hazard's explosion as well.
"I don't doubt (Zidane's) managerial ability and I believe he is doing well.
"Today, they are challenging Barcelona to win La Liga and I am confident that Zidane can win the double this season."