A file photo of Mohamed Salah. Photograph:( Reuters )
As Liverpool takes on Real Madrid in the Champions League final at Kiev later today, all eyes are on none other than Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian has been unstoppable since he arrived at Liverpool from Roma last summer for $49 million, a bargain considering transfer market after Brazilian Neymar Jr's $263 million over-rated move to Paris Saint-Germain. Salah's performance has been awe-inspiring and he has proved every pundit, who expressed doubts over his ability to adapt the high-pressing style of Jurgen Klopp's football, wrong.
The Egyptian has scored 44 goals in 48 appearances this season for Liverpool- a record that does not look out of place next to the elite attacking players in the game like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
And there have been calls already for him to be the next winner of the most prestigious individual accolade in world football -- Ballon d'Or.
Red's talisman broke the back of his former club Roma, his former club, in the semi-final first leg scoring two goals and provided assists for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, in the process setting up the summit clash with the 12-time winner Real Madrid.
The dribbling, dancing and grooving Salah helped send Liverpool to the Champions League final but things could have been so different if Chelsea hadn't sold him
The dribbling, dancing and grooving Salah helped send Liverpool to the Champions League final but things could have been so different if Chelsea hadn't sold him.
The Egyptian was on the books at the Blues, but his time was short-lived as he was shipped out on loan to Fiorentina and then eventually sold to Roma after a loan deal with the club.
Chelsea's loss is Liverpool's gain. Mohamed Salah has won the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award for 2017-18. Salah has also won the Football Writers' Footballer of the Year award among many others after a stunning debut season with Liverpool. The Egyptian winger has become the first African to ever win the prize.
The Egyptian king's success in England is a source of immense pride to those back home. He has rapidly reached demigod level in Egypt because of his performances at Liverpool. In fact, according to reports, such is the adulation being heaped upon Salah that it earned him hundreds and thousands of write-in votes in March's presidential election.
His status quickly rose beyond the boundaries of sport, cementing him as a symbol of Egyptian potential and hope even amid a gloomy period for the country, with a troubled economy and few outlets for free expression.
Dejan Lovren, Salah's Liverpool teammate, recently in an interview showered encomiums on him. Lovren said that when people talk about Ronaldo and Messi they should also talk about Salah. He deserves it, he deserves to be mentioned for the Ballon d'Or, he said and added at the start of the season he didn’t know he could do this, but you see how he is working, how he wants the ball, he is just a different player to what he was.
Having said that, there is no denying that Salah calls for mention when people talk about contemporary greats like Messi and Ronaldo. But the question is whether the Egyptian will be able to do it consistently over several seasons as Messi and Ronaldo have been able to do?
If the Egyptian's performance this season at the Merseyside is anything to go by, the answer to the question yes, he can.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)