Ibrahima Konaté has had an exceptional first year at Liverpool, having been the regular partner for Virgil van Dijk in the Champions League while winning domestic cups and being involved in a title race and 92-point Premier League season.
Exceptional could go to just about perfect on Saturday when the Reds face off against Real Madrid in Konaté’s hometown, Paris, in the Champions League final, and with it a chance for the 23-year-old to win the first European trophy of his career.
“It’s unimaginable,” Konaté reflected. “If you’d asked me what I wanted, I don’t think I could’ve dreamt of anything better. That said, we know that we’ll be playing against a very good Real Madrid team, so we’ll need to prepare well.
“When you talk about the Champions League being in my city, I’m honestly speechless, and I don’t think I could’ve dreamt of anything better. I knew when I arrived expectations were very high at the club, but what we’re achieving now is unique.”
Liverpool won a unique cup treble once before, in 2001, when they took the League Cup, FA Cup, and Europa League-precursor UEFA Cup. Now, they have a chance to do one better by adding the Champions League to the FA and League Cups.
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, though, it’s been an exceptional season—for Liverpool and for Konaté. A season more than worthy of being celebrated and long remembered. But a win on Saturday, that would make it just about perfect.
“I think I am going to reflect on all those moments at the end of the season,” added the dominant young centre half. “Hopefully with a few trophies in the bag.”