Mohamed Salah: The Quiet Storm

Mohamed Salah is a player that has been generating quite the buzz on the pitch with his charisma and goal scoring prowess. He is the alpha and omega of Liverpool, leading the British Premier League in scoring. The game seems to be in the palm of his hands and the sky is certainly the limit for the Egyptian forward. He is reaching mogul status back home in Egypt as well. It was not always like this for him as we flash back a few years ago.

After showing a great deal of promise in Basel in 2014, Salah left the Swiss League for the biggest opportunity of his life when he went to Chelsea. This is what he had been working hard for growing up as he endured long days as an athlete leaving home to go train and play soccer in Cairo. Unfortunately, his stint in the Barclays would be cut short as he could never really find his footing with the club. He was sent on a loan to Fiorentina. His frustration was mounting during this time and he reached out to a good friend in Didier Drogba. Drogba gave him some valuable advice that may have flipped the switch for Salah.

“I said, “Listen, it’s just a matter of time and confidence,’” said the former Chelsea teammate of Salah.

The advice Mo received might be lacking in substance, but sometimes the simple words help make sense of the convoluted stages in life.

In 2015, Salah joined Roma on a loan worth five million that could triple its’ value if the deal was made permanent. All he had to do was go out on the field and show his worth. He played with more confidence and that was a critical element he missed to have a breakthrough with Chelsea. The speedy Egyptian finished as Roma’s leader in goals (15) and was nominated the player of the season. Not to mention, he accrued that permanent deal that was worth 15 million because of his efforts.

In June of 2017, Salah returned to the BPL on a transfer worth 42 million. Liverpool had to dig deeper into their pockets as the Neymar and Kylian Mbappe deals made Mo’s value double on the market. It was certainly deemed a risky move as pundits thought his talents could not translate from Italy. Liverpool’s high risk has turned into a high reward as Salah looks like the next big thing.

Salah is fast on the ball, at 5’9, and he plays under control with his effortless lunges down the pitch. He is instinctual with the ball as he can get physical tossing defenders aside or he can put them through the washer as he spins them in circles. He is like a shark in the water in the box as when he smells blood there is hardly anything defenders can do to deter him. Mo can finish with class, a rocket boot that makes a goalie think twice, or with accuracy. Every player can pass the ball, but his ball placement is other worldly as he can deliver crosses and short passes on a dime.

“Salah is a good player and is very dangerous. He’s a technical player, but at the same time he’s very fast, very strong, and very good in one v one. Also, he’s very good to finish.” – Antonio Conte, Chelsea coach

The biggest difference in Salah’s second go-round in the BPL is his confidence. He has always been known as a quiet guy or a guy that shows humility. However, when he steps on the field, now, he believes he is the best player on the field. The result has been a record-setting player debut as the Egypt international has scored more than Fernando Torres did in his debut for Liverpool. The 40 goals in all competitions also has him in contention for the Golden Boot with Harry Kane of Tottenham. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s coach, believes he is on his way to Lionel Messi status if he can continue to be consistently great.

Salah’s success has translated to his national team in Egypt. He was instrumental during their quest for a World Cup berth as he scored five times. His teammates feasted off his performances, upped their game, and together they earned a World Cup bid. It is the first time the Pharaohs have punched their ticket since 1990.

Egypt is in Group A that features Uruguay, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Russia poses a fortified unit with their back-line while Uruguay has an elite player themselves in Luis Suarez. Saudi Arabia has a special young player in Fahad Al-Muwallad too in case you think that match will be a cake walk. Another top tier player has been taking note as he referred to the Egyptians as a sleeper for this summer’s event.

“Also, Salah (Egypt) is a great player who can make a difference in the World Cup,” said Neymar.

It took some time for Salah, but he figured it out after struggling to make a splash in Chelsea. His hard work paid off in Roma as Liverpool came running for him. The skills were always there, but now it is his confidence that has made him one of the rising stars as an international footballer. The World Cup should serve as a catapult into elite status for Salah. 

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