If Mane joins Barcelona he’d have to overcome Messi’

Sadio Mane has no need to leave Liverpool for Barcelona, says John Aldridge, as the Reds are better than the Liga giants and the Senegalese would have to “overcome Lionel Messi” if he moved to Camp Nou.

The former Reds striker told the Liverpool Echo: “The release of the documentary tracking the career and life story of Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has got people talking.

“Not least the part where he makes a vow to people in his Senegalese home town that he will win the Ballon d’Or.

“That declaration has prompted suggestions from several people that the only way Mane can realise his dream is by leaving Anfield and heading to Spain to join either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

“I can see what they are saying. In recent times, almost every award has been won by Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. That they have played for Barca or Real at the time has been coincidental.

“It has been unfortunate for so many great players that they have found themselves in an era with Messi and Ronaldo. To finish above them, you have got to have done something unbelievably special.

“Liverpool, though, shouldn’t be too worried about Mane’s situation.

“They have never before been in such a strong position to be able to keep hold of their best players. Indeed, now would be the worst time for them to start potentially cashing in.

“Mane has probably been our best player this season. And what’s more, he can get even better next season and perhaps even win the Champions League again.

“What’s more, Liverpool are a better team than either Barcelona or Real at present.

“When things are going well, you just have to enjoy it, and I’m sure Mane has been over the past 18 months.

“That said, if players really want to leave, then it’s hard to keep them in the modern era.

“But Mane doesn’t seem the type. Whenever I’ve spoken to him, he seems very humble, and doesn’t seem someone who would agitate for a move like other players such as Fernando Torres.

“And don’t forget, even if the Reds forward moves to Barcelona, for example, he’d still have to overcome Messi.

“Mane can win the Ballon d’Or as he’s a great player. And he has as much chance winning it while at Liverpool than anywhere else.”

Mane, who joined Liverpool from Southampton in the summer of 2016, has scored 77 goals for the Reds in 161 appearances and is tied to a contract through to 2023.