Real Madrid have an undisputed appeal within the football community and in the transfer window; just ask Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and recently Eden Hazard, to name a few.
The Spanish giants are widely regarded as the biggest club in the world owing to the sheer number of titles won over the years, including 13 European Cups, the club's estimated worth and plethora of supporters worldwide.
It is for these reasons that many players dream of playing for Los Blancos at some point in their careers, and representing the club is often regarded as the pinnacle for any professional.
Editors' PicksWage cuts & lost millions - Why Arsenal are facing a financial black hole Ilaix Moriba: Barcelona's 'new Pogba' closing in on a first-team debut Lautaro & Neymar? Barcelona can't afford either right now let alone both 'Within two months he was a different person' - Alexander-Arnold's journey from skinny teen to Liverpool star
A successful 2019 saw the Senegal talisman end with three titles – the Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup – consequently leading to his fourth place finish in last year’s Ballon d’Or race, a result many observers lambasted.
In addition, Mane scored 22 times in the Premier League to end joint-top scorer alongside Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Golden Boot race, even though he narrowly missed out on the league title after Manchester City pipped the Reds to the post.
There was also Senegal’s failure at the Africa Cup of Nations final in the summer 2019, where the nation’s talisman couldn’t inspire the Teranga Lions to their maiden win at the showpiece.
Still, regardless of the twin disappointments, the perception was that the ex-Southampton man was full value for a place in the top three having had an incredible calendar year, at least as impressive as Juventus’ Ronaldo or even teammate Virgil van Dijk.
Many felt fourth spot was a affront to the attacker, which prompted outcries from the African football community, led by four-time African Player of the Year Samuel Eto’o.March 29, 2020
Recently, ex-Senegal international Diomansy Kamara resurrected the Liverpool star’s snub at the awards and asserted the attacker needs to leave Merseyside for Zinedine Zidane’s side if he’s to have a better chance at claiming the honour.
"If Mane, one day wants to win the Ballon d'Or, he may have to leave Liverpool as the club are maybe not the best advocates for him, despite their outstanding performances," Kamara told ESPN. "Considering his value in the market, considering the quality of the side he's playing in, there aren't many other clubs he could go to today to make a major leap."
"So we have to talk about Real Madrid,” the ex-Senegal striker stated. "His style of play is a bit closer to the criteria they're looking for over there, and if I was his agent, I'd take him to Spain.
"We all dream of seeing Mane in the colours of Real Madrid, and we know that Zinedine Zidane appreciates him, but will it become a reality? We'll have to see."
Perhaps the former Fulham frontman has a point that his countryman would have a better chance of making the podium away from England, given that Ronaldo and Michael Owen are the only players from the Premier League to have won the award in the last two decades.
The award has stayed in the Spanish top flight in the last 11 years, with Lionel Messi and the Portuguese maestro constantly battling it out in that time.
Indeed, their dominance over the honour was extremely telling after Salah was unsuccessful despite an incredible 2017/18 season in which he broke tonnes of goalscoring records, including the 31-goal Premier League haul set by Ronaldo and Luis Suarez previously.
In truth, the Egyptian forward didn’t win any title in his first year with Jurgen Klopp’s troops, yet many tipped him for the achievement regardless, particularly after his influential role in helping Liverpool reach the UCL final.
Ultimately, Luka Modric won the award, while Salah didn't even make the top three.
For Mane, playing for Zidane’s Madrid side may not necessarily make him contender for the gong owing to the fact he’d not definitely be the standout player for Los Merengues who have Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and, to a lesser extent, Gareth Bale as the side’s high profile stars in attack.
Given the Senegalese isn’t head and shoulders above the guys at Ciudad Real Madrid, he’d face the same issue he’s battled with in England, with Salah and van Dijk supposedly blocking his path to the individual honour.
Also, while Liverpool seemed to be playing at a high level until their wobble before football was suspended, the Spanish giants have been part of a disappointing La Liga title race involving two unconvincing sides.
Frankly, there are absolutely no guarantees for the Reds forward if he switches to the Spanish capital, but questions about his future will persist when the Premier League is resumed and Liverpool eventually claim the title.
While featuring for Real may give Mane a greater platform and a more prominent status as he looks to claim the Ballon d'Or, Liverpool still represent a stronger all-round unit - and arguably a better fit for Mane's talents - than a troubled Real side at the moment.
No doubt, it would be a risky move for Mane to swap his spot at Anfield for the Bernabeu, although when the world's biggest club do come calling, few players can resist its allure.