Naby Keita has explained the role that “big brother” – and future Liverpool teammate – Sadio Mane has had on his career.
Keita is set to move to Liverpool for around £48million next summer after the Reds agreed a future deal with RB Leipzig.
It marks the latest chapter in a remarkable rise for the midfielder, who was playing in Ligue 2 for FC Istres in the 2013/14 season.
He joined Red Bull Salzburg the following campaign, where he first came across “big brother” Mane, who was coming to the end of his time in the Austrian Premier League.
“At first, I wasn’t starting and it was very frustrating,” Keita told Goal. “I didn’t like it and it made the settling-in period harder. But Sadio said: ‘My little brother, stay calm. Your chance will come and when it does, you will make the most of it.’
“He helped me with everything – the language, making friends, understanding the club and the city. And, of course, he was right. Once I was put into the team, I showed my qualities and everything went much smoother.
“Salzburg improved me as a player and I learnt so much there, I got a really tactical education.
“Sadio was important for me, he still is! To me, he’s my big brother. He really likes to learn new things, to improve and to push himself and we are the same in this way. He’s a good example for me.”