The modern footballer is subject to an outrageous amount of intrusions in their life. They are sought after and hounded by people with microphones and asked questions about a myriad of important sporting topics. “Did it feel good to score when you scored?” That’s a fun one. But there are more hard-hitting questions like “Why did you lose when you lost?” and those can really take the conversation somewhere.
But here in the post-season it’s all about the transfer rumours. “We heard you were leaving. Answer.” Poor Sadio Mané is the latest victim of such questioning, having been asked about a rumour that Zinedine Zidane had been wooing him to Spain before the Frenchman stepped down at Real Madrid.
“I am very happy in Liverpool and my contract will last for three more years,” Mané said.
And I know you think that that particular line of questioning was then set aside. Done. Nothing more to add. But no, he was asked a second time.
“As I said, I’m happy in Liverpool,” Mané said again.
“But you never know what will happen in the future. I want to win trophies, especially the Champions League.”
Sadio is clearly happy to be playing at Liverpool, playing under Jürgen Klopp, playing with some of the best players in the world right now. It’s a drag that players have to deal with weird reporters and terrible questions. It’s a drag that they have to regularly repeat their loyalty to their club just because the internet.
Sadio is in Russia, preparing with Senegal to play Poland next week to start off their World Cup. His focus is all on playing for his country now and not on batting away the pen and pad super sleuths. He’s calm. He’s collected. He’s Mané.
“I feel no pressure. To be honest, I am very happy to play this tournament together with my team.
“I also do not see myself as a superstar, but as part of a team that wants to achieve a lot in the World Cup.”