It has been another eventful week for Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane.

First came the release of the excellent new documentary tracking his life story from humble beginnings in Senegal to his ongoing success at Anfield.

Today he celebrates his 28th birthday, widely acknowledged as one of the finest players in the world.

And in between came the inevitable barrage of career advice urging Mane to seek pastures new.

Much of it was sparked by the player revealing his dream to win the Ballon d'Or and be named the best footballer on the planet.

Indeed, in the documentary there is a clip of Mane, who finished fourth in the vote last season, making a promise to residents in his home town of Bambali that he will win the award.

"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," former Senegal international Diomansy Kamara said to ESPN.

"He needs to continue on the road he's going down, as he wasn't too far from finishing on the podium, and even for me he maybe deserved to win it this year.

"Now he needs to continue to work, and maybe even change clubs, because we've seen that Liverpool don't really play to Mane's strengths and (people) gave their votes to Virgil van Dijk even though Mane and to a lesser extent Mohamed Salah were equally in the running."

Kamara's viewpoint is a curious one - Mane is regarded the Reds' best forward this season with 18 goals and 12 assists in 38 games - but he isn't alone.

Certainly, outside of England there is a view in some sections that no matter how successful Liverpool become, their individual players - and, don't forget, some are often seen to be representing their entire country - will stand a better chance of individual honours by moving to Real Madrid and Barcelona.

They may have a point. Since Michael Owen was named Ballon d'Or in 2001, only four times has the winner not come from either of the Spanish giants, with the last being 12 years ago.

Read More

Must-read Liverpool FC news

And in the last 24 years, only two winners - Pavel Nedved and Andriy Shevchenko - haven't played for Real or Barca at some point in their careers.

With Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane a known admirer of Mane, it hasn't taken long for speculation to mount, not least with Mane having previously expressed his admiration for the Spanish giants.

Liverpool, though, have no intention of parting any time soon with a player who signed a new long-term contract 18 months ago.

That doesn't mean the rumours will stop, though. And with no action any time soon, those Mane whispers are only going to grow louder.