Sadio Mane will complete a move to Real Madrid in the near future, according to Mohamed Sissoko, who thinks the Liverpool winger "has the characteristics" to succeed at Santiago Bernabeu.
Mane has emerged as one of the finest players in Europe since arriving at Anfield from Southampton in 2016, scoring 79 goals in 161 appearances across all competitions.
The Senegal international has formed one-third of a deadly attacking trident alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, helping the Reds to conquer the Champions League while challenging for the Premier League title.
Liverpool are on course to win a first domestic crown in 30 years this season, having established a 25-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City after 29 fixtures.
Mane has contributed 14 goals to their cause, just two behind team-mate Salah, whom he shared the Golden Boot with last season.
Both men have been heavily linked with Real Madrid over the past year, with Zinedine Zidane reportedly looking to bring in a proven frontman to provide support for first-choice striker Karim Benzema.
Sissoko has expressed his belief that Mane will be lured from Anfield to the Bernabeu if the Blancos formalise their interest, insisting he is a better fit for Zidane's project than Salah.
When asked whether Salah could join Madrid, the ex-Reds midfielder told Europa Calcio : “No, I think Sadio Mane is likelier to, because he has the characteristics that Zidane wants – he really rates him. I think Sadio Mane will go to Real Madrid.”
Sissoko added on Salah's future at Anfield: "I don’t know if Salah will stay at Liverpool. If he left, it could also be a good thing for Liverpool – they’re a clever club and they’d know how to replace him.
“There are some fantastic youngsters who have what it takes to play for the Reds and put in top performances.”
Liverpool's Premier League coronation has been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen all major football leagues across Europe shut up shop until at least the end of April.
Jurgen Klopp's men were just two wins away from glory before the enforced break came into effect, but they had suffered a blip in form which culminated in a Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
Sissoko is adamant that his old club's "main aim" for the 2019-20 campaign was always to win the league rather than retain the European Cup, as he added: "Liverpool are something special. The fans, the club…I played with really terrific players there. Like Juventus, Liverpool also helped me to grow as a player and as a person.
“It’s a shame that they’ve been knocked out of the Champions League, but it has to be said that the main aim was to win the Premier League. The fans have been waiting to win the title for a long time.”