Mane ‘jealous’ that Barcelona lured Coutinho away from Liverpool

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane admits he was jealous when Barcelona lured team-mate Philippe Coutinho to the Nou Camp.

The Brazil international left in January 2018 in a deal worth up to £142million after failing to force a move through six months earlier.

Liverpool coped well with the disruption created by the playmaker’s transfer request and his subsequent departure but Mane admitted it did leave a hole.

“He is a great, great player and I’m a little bit jealous that Barcelona got him,” said the Senegal international.

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“I would love to see him again but we we are happy for him.

“He really enjoyed playing alongside his team-mates and gave everything, and is still young and can improve a lot.

“I know him, he is a hard worker. Hopefully tomorrow he will still be in bed when we play!”

Manager Jurgen Klopp is pleased with the way his side moved on from the Coutinho furore with very little fuss and have, arguably, become a better side.

“Yes, we miss Phil Coutinho a lot because he is a world-class player and I loved working with him,” said the Reds boss.

Liverpool v Sevilla – UEFA Champions League – Group E – Anfield
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Philippe Coutinho (Peter Byrne/PA)

“But we had to deal without him and we did well. When I first heard he wanted to go to Barcelona I couldn’t imagine we would do that good but we did.”

Mane was asked by Spanish journalists about a potential move to LaLiga, having been linked with Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid in recent months.

“Very good question! You guys write it…” was the response.

“I respect LaLiga is a good league, they have great players, but the Premier League is also a wonderful league and every single player would want to play there.

“So I have a chance to play there and I am very happy, so that’s cool.”

Great Britain and Ireland v Rest of the World – UNICEF Charity Match – Old Trafford
Ronaldinho is one of Sadio Mane’s heroes (Martin Rickett/PA)

But Spanish football has already left a lasting impression on Mane, and one former Barcelona player in particular.

“Ronaldinho was one of my heroes. I really loved watching him play, especially here at Camp Nou,” he said.

“I would have loved to play against him. Him not being here now is an advantage for us! I still love him. He is still my hero forever.

“I loved his skills, his smile for sure. Maybe when I’m not smiling on the pitch people think I am angry. I would love to have his smile, but we’re not similar like that.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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