Ibrahima Konate names surprise role model as he rebuffs PSG talk

Ibrahima Konate is surrounded by PSG players during his time with France and laughed off any suggestions of being lobbied to join the Ligue 1 side.

The 24-year-old is an integral part of Liverpool’s defence, and since returning from his injury earlier this season, has featured in six of the last seven matches.

And it culminated in a call-up to the French squad for the October international break, after missing out in September due to his hamstring strain.

That meant fronting the French media this week and being asked if any of the squad’s PSG players have attempted to lure him back to his hometown.

He laughed off the question, saying: “I’m not going to answer about what they do! But no, it’s true that I’m a Parisian, but I’m at Liverpool.”

Konate is contracted at Anfield until 2026, and he will go toe to toe with his club captain on Friday as France face the Netherlands.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 2, 2022: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté (R) and Virgil van Dijk (L) during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In an interview with Le Parisien, Konate made it clear that his goal is to “have a better career” than Van Dijk, though he named a different role model who has history with Liverpool.

“There are very few defenders who have managed to have as good a career as him,” Konate said of Liverpool’s No. 4. 

“I learn a lot alongside him. My goal, and he knows it, is to have a better career than him. 

He then added: “My number one [role model] has long been Sergio Ramos.”

Of course, Ramos was involved in the incident that saw Mohamed Salah have to leave the field prematurely in the 2018 Champions League after an over the top tackle from the then Real Madrid defender.

Now 37, Ramos returned to his boyhood club Sevilla this summer as a free agent with his senior career now stretching over 20 years.

It is the kind of longevity Konate will strive for and Liverpool will hope he has the capabilities to do so, with the Frenchman having shown he can be a cornerstone of the club’s backline for the long-term – if injuries allow.