Mohamed Salah: Football pharaoh

Mohamed Salah is an Egyptian professional footballer who currently plays for Liverpool and the Egyptian national team. He was born on June 15, 1992, in the city of Nagrig in northern Egypt. Mohamed Salah’s career was mostly influenced by two coaches, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp. The first because he «drove» him from Chelsea, and the second because he gave him all the freedom and trust in Liverpool. He played before for Basel, Fiorentina, and Roma, but all that would not have happened if popular Mo in his native Egypt had not fallen in love with football. He first played for a club half an hour from his village, then for another to which he traveled an hour and a half.

«When I moved to the club from Cairo, it took me four and a half hours to drive in one direction (with numerous transfers), five days a week. «I almost gave up on everything,» he said much later. The King of Egypt «, even though much less was known about him, cost a lot. The clubs paid a total of 81 million euros in compensation for him, and most of all his current club Liverpool gave the Roma as much as 42 million. It was a record transfer for the club from Anfield, Roberto Firmino gave him the number 11, and he chose the number nine. Today, his value has multiplied, and if he ever decides to leave Liverpool, it is estimated that he will surpass Neymar in the amount of transfers.

After moving to Chelsea, Salah was almost forcibly returned to his homeland. He was invited to report for compulsory military service in Egypt, which lasts up to three years. Fortunately for him, after talks between the Egyptian Prime Minister and the Minister of Education, Salah was spared military service. He started his senior career in 2010 in his hometown, in the Egyptian first league Al Mokawloon, and after that, he moved to Basel, Switzerland. Already in his first season in Switzerland, he was named the best young player.

His talent attracted the leaders of the English first league Chelsea, who offered him a contract worth 11 million pounds. However, he was quickly loaned to Fiorentina and Roma. He got more minutes in Roma and led the team to the top of the Serie A table. After that, Liverpool decided to return the young Egyptian to England, offering him a contract worth 39 million pounds. He perfected his game, and from the position of the wing, he completely moved into the attack zone and quickly became one of the biggest stars in Liverpool. This is proven by the fact that he became the first player to be named the best player of the month in the Premier League for three months in a row.

Along with the club, Salah also progressed in his national team career. With the young selection of Egypt, he won a bronze medal at the African Cup of Nations, and in 2011 he participated in the World Cup for players under 20. In 2012, the Egyptians participated in the Summer Olympic Games in London. In the same year, he was named the most talented young player in Africa. Debuting in the first team of the senior national team, he helped his country place in the finals of the African Cup of Nations in 2017 and became the best scorer during the qualifications for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The African Football Confederation named him African Footballer of the Year, after which the same award was given to him by the BBC.

Clubs

Salah started his junior career at Al Mokawloon and made his senior debut on May 3, 2010, in a match against El Mansoura. During the 2010-2011 season, he showed the better and better game, and he was in the first team in almost every match. He scored his first goal on December 25, 2010, in the match against El Ahly, and he showed good games in the next season 2011-2012. Following the tragedy at Port Said Stadium in February 2012, the Egyptian Premier League was suspended and all matches were postponed. In March 2012, the Egyptian Football Association announced a decision to suspend the continuation of the competition that season.

Basel

The management of the Swiss first league Basel followed the progress of the young Egyptian for a while, and after the friendly match between Switzerland and Egypt in which he came in as a replacement and scored two goals, they decided to offer him a contract. On April 10, 2012, Basel announced that the club had signed a four-year contract with Salah. Salah made his unofficial debut on June 23, 2012, in a friendly match against Steaua Bucharest. He made his official debut in the UEFA Champions League on August 8 in a match against Molde, coming in as a substitute in the 74th minute. He scored his first goal in the league in August in a match against the team from Lausanne, and his first goal in the Europa League on April 11, 2013.

Basel advanced to the semifinals by defeating Tottenham Hotspur. In the semi-final duel with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Salah scored an important goal, but that was not enough for Basel to defeat the English first division team. Despite the disappointment at the international level, the team on the wings of Mohamed Salah won the Swiss Super League and the title of Swiss champion. He scored his first goal in the Champions League in a match against Maccabi Tel Aviv on August 6, 2013, during the third qualifying round. Before the start of the match in Tel Aviv, he suffered serious pressure from some Egyptian media because he decided to travel to Israel. During August and September 2013, he scored several important goals in the games against Ludogorets and Chelsea. On September 18, 2013, he scored a goal to equalize with Chelsea during the group stage of the competition, and in the return match at the home stadium, he scored the decisive goal, and Basel won 1:0.

Chelsea

In January 2014, Chelsea announced that an agreement had been reached and that Salah was coming to London. A few days later, a contract worth 11 million pounds was signed, and he became the first Egyptian on Stamford Bridge. Already in February 2014, Salah made his debut in the English Premier League by entering as a substitute in the match against Newcastle United, and in March 2014 he scored his first goal of the game against Arsenal. «Blues» defeated «Gunners» with a result 6:0. His stay on the island was questionable due to pressure to return to Egypt for military service. After talks between Egyptian Prime Minister and Education Minister Salah was spared military service.

Fiorentina

After only three appearances in the league, Chelsea loaned him to Fiorentina. In the transfer window on February 2, 2015, the English club confirmed that it had loaned Salah to Fiorentina for a period of 18 months, until the end of the 2015-2016 season. After playing for the Italian club, he chose the number 74 in memory of the 74 victims of the tragedy at Port Said Stadium. Six days after signing the contract, he played for the new club for the first time, coming on as a substitute in the 65th minute in the victory against Atalanta. On February 14, he got the opportunity to play from the first minute in the duel with Sassuolo, and in the 30th minute, he scored his first goal. Just a few minutes later, he assisted Babacar for a new goal, and Fiorentina celebrated with a score of 3:1. He continued to play good games, so he scored in very important matches against Tottenham and Juventus. Before the end of the season, the leaders of the Italian club expressed the desire for Salah to officially join their ranks, but he refused. Instead, he moved to Roma.

Roma

On August 6, 2015, Salah signed a «one-season ticket» with Roma worth five million euros, with the open option to stay there permanently. He made his debut on August 22, and on September 11, Fiorentina filed a complaint with FIFA, alleging that Chelsea violated the loan agreement by allowing Salah to play for Roma. He scored the first goal of the season on September 20 in a duel with Sassuolo, and the match ended 2:2. On October 25, he returned to the Artemio Franchi Stadium, this time as a guest and an angry opponent. He helped his new club achieve its fourth victory in a row in the League. Before the end of the season, he was named the player of the season, finishing with 15 goals and six assists in all competitions. August 3, 2016. Roma announced that they want the cooperation with the young Egyptian to continue. In the match against Bologna on November 6, he scored his first hat trick.

Livepool

In June 2017, Salah reached an agreement with Liverpool. The club from Anfield bought Roma’s striker for a record 39 million pounds and thus broke its own record. Roberto Firmino gave him the number 11, and he chose the number nine. That is how Salah officially became part of Jurgen Klopp’s team. He made his debut on 12 August in a draw against Watford, and 10 days later he scored his first goal for Liverpool. A few days later, he also scored a goal for Arsenal, and his club celebrated with a convincing 4-0. Liverpool fans named him the player of the month in August. On October 17, Liverpool defeated Maribor 7-0, and the Egyptian striker scored two goals. A month later, he scored a goal in a match against his former club Chelsea but refused to celebrate it out of respect for the club, players and fans, as well as out of respect for the victims of the attack on the mosque in North Sinai.

On April 22, 2018, the Association of Football Professionals (PFA) named him Footballer of the Year. Two days later, he gave two goals to his former club Roma, and Liverpool celebrated with the result 5:2 in the first match of the semifinals of the Champions League. He thus became the first football player from Africa and also the first Liverpool player to score 10 goals in one competition. He scored 43 goals in all competitions of the season and became the second-best scorer of Liverpool in one season. In the Premier League, he won the Golden Boot as an award for being the best scorer of that competition. In the final of the Champions League, Liverpool met Real Madrid on May 26, 2018, and the Spanish club took home the Champions League trophy for the third time in a row. Salah suffered a serious injury in the duel with Sergio Ramos in the first half, after which he was taken off the field in tears.

The following season, he played again in the Champions League final with Liverpool, but this time his team won the title by defeating Tottenham in the final. Salah scored from the penalty spot, which put his team in the lead, which eventually won 2-0. That season, he won the award for the most beautiful goal in the world, for which he traditionally won the FIFA Puskas Award. He won the golden boot again. The following season, Salah led Liverpool to a historic Premier League title that Liverpool had been waiting for more than three decades. Liverpool won the title of club world champion, and in that competition, Salah was named the best player of the tournament. In the 2020-21 season, he crossed the magic limit of 100 goals scored wearing the Liverpool jersey in all competitions. He has already won the EFL Cup this season, and his team has the opportunity to achieve an incredible result because they have great chances for the title in the EPL, CL, and FA Cup.

National Team

Along with the club, Salah built a successful national team career. He played with the young Egyptian national team at the World Cup in 2011, and at the 2012 Summer Olympics. By scoring a few goals, he helped his team reach the quarterfinals. He played his first match for the national team on September 3, 2011, in a defeat by the Sierra Leone team. He scored his first goal as an Egyptian first team player in a duel against Niger a month later. At the African Cup of Nations held in Gabon in 2017, he scored a goal in the first match against Ghana, thus securing first place in Group D. Egypt reached the final, and Salah scored two goals and four assists in six matches, reserving himself a place in the ideal composition of the competition.

During the qualifications for the 2018 World Cup, he scored five goals for Egypt, including the decisive goal in the victory against Congo. With his goal after the awarded penalty, the «Pharaohs» secured participation in the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. He played with the national team again in the Africa Cup of Nations final this year, but they were defeated by Senegal in the final.

Private Life

He never forgot his homeland. He turned his village into a small town and invested a lot of money in schools and hospitals in Egypt. Salah also has his own organization that deals with humanitarian work. That is why it is not surprising that in his native Egypt, he received over a million votes in the presidential elections, even though he was not a candidate, but he served as a «choice» to voters who did not want to vote for the offered candidates. In 2013, Mohamed Salah married his longtime girlfriend Magi, and thousands of people gathered at the wedding because his family invited the whole village to the celebration. The following year, they had a daughter, whom they named Makka. The girl was born in a hospital in West London and was named after a holy Muslim city. Two years ago, Salah had another daughter named Kayan. Due to his incredible game and great goals, Liverpool fans gave him several sounding nicknames – «Pharaoh» and «King of Egypt» and «Egyptian Messi».

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