Haaland, Mane, Keita: Red Bull Salzburg's incredible XI if they'd kept their best players

Erling Haaland absolutely smashed it at RB Salzburg

Red Bull Salzburg have been a production line for Europe's elite teams in recent years.

The Austrian side - who are regulars in the Champions League - churn out high-quality players with bags of potential on a frighteningly regular basis.

They often sell them for a tidy profit too, making them one of the most sustainable football clubs on the planet.

And if they'd held onto their best players instead of selling them, Salzburg would possess one of the most feared XIs in the professional game.

Below, we've constructed a team made up of players who've previously represented the Austrian outfit over the past decade or so and some seriously big names feature.

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Let's begin...

GK - Peter Gulacsi, RB Leipzig (left Salzburg in 2013)

The Hungarian - who was on Liverpool's books before joining Salzburg - is now a key figure at Leipzig and one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

CB - Duje Caleta-Car, Marseille (left Salzburg in 2018)

Caleta-Car spent four years in Austria before joining Marseille, where the 25-year-old has evolved into a brilliant defender and a regular for the Croatian national team.

Caleta-Car in action

CB - Martin Hinteregger, Eintracht Frankfurt (left Salzburg in 2016)

A top-class defender with an eye for goal. In his 111 appearances for Frankfurt in all competitions, Hinteregger has netted 14 goals - a return most midfielders would be proud of.

CB - Dayot Upamecano, Bayern Munich (left Salzburg in 2017)

The Frenchman has been imperious at the back for Bayern this season since arriving from Leipzig in the summer. It's hard to believe Upamecano is still only 22.

RM - Dominik Szoboszlai, RB Leipzig (left Salzburg in 2021)

A player with the skillset required to be a bonafide superstar. Szoboszlai's start to life in Leipzig was interrupted by injury, but he's netted two goals in six Bundesliga appearances this season. The sky is the limit for the 20-year-old.

Szoboszlai in action

DM - Konrad Laimer, RB Leipzig (left Salzburg in 2017)

The third and final Leipzig player in the XI. Laimer has been one of the best defensive midfielders in the Bundesliga for quite a few years now and at the age of just 24, he's only going to get better.

CM - Naby Keita, Liverpool (left Salzburg in 2016)

Persistent injuries have hampered his stint with Liverpool, but on the rare occasions he has been fully fit, Keita has dazzled for the Reds. If only the Guinean could avoid the treatment table for a prolonged period of time...

CM - Marcel Sabitzer, Bayern Munich (spent the 2014/15 season on loan at Salzburg)

Sabitzer's temporary stay with Salzburg yielded 27 goals and 21 assists in just 51 appearance. The versatile midfield maestro then smashed it at Leipzig and earned himself a prestigious move to Bayern this summer.

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LM - Sadio Mane, Liverpool (left Salzburg in 2014)

We don't need to say much here, do we? Mane's performances at Southampton after joining from Salzburg saw Liverpool come calling and the Senegalese flyer is now recognised as one of the Premier League's finest ever wingers.

ST - Erling Braut Haaland, Borussia Dortmund (left Salzburg in 2020)

We don't really need to say much here either...

Since leaving Austria, Haaland has scored an astonishing 68 goals in 67 appearances for Dortmund. Make no mistake about it, he's a Ballon d'Or winner in the making.

ST - Patson Daka, Leicester City (left Salzburg in 2021)

Daka is yet to find his best form at Leicester, but the numbers he produced at Salzburg suggest he'll come good eventually. The lighting-quick Zambian netted 68 goals in his 125 games for the club and 34 of those came in 2020/21 alone.

The full XI

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Not a bad team, eh?

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