“The night is darkest before the dawn.” And what a light Mohammed Salah has shone on his return to the premier league. As bright as his smile is, he has somehow managed to shine brighter than his peers in the league to win almost every individual honour there is this season. When Salah left England permanently in 2016, he was determinded to come back and prove himself, He said so boldly:
“I said many times, it was always in my mind to come back because a lot of people said ‘he cannot succeed here and he is not good enough for the Premier League’.
“So it was always in my mind to come back. I had two great seasons in Rome and everyone was telling me ‘no, don’t come back’ but it was always in my mind that I have to come back to prove them wrong.”
And he did just that. Scoring over 40 goals in all competitions – Only the great Ian Rush plundered in more for Liverpool – as well as setting numerous records in England and Europe.
With Salah’s exploits last season, he has done well to put Egypt and Africa on the map just like his colleague Sadio Manè has done for some time now. Manè, who holds the record for the fastest hat-trick scored in EPL history, scored in the UCL final against Madrid, taking his tally to 10 goals that season, same with Salah. Unfortunately Salah’s dream evening was cut short after a tussle with Sergio Ramos ended in a sprain on his shoulder midway through the first half. Coach Héctor Cúper and Egypt’s medical team are confident of him making at least the last game in the group stage of the World Cup. It maybe too late by then but there’s no doubt that Salah has made an impact in the football world this year.
Touted as the first man to extinguish the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly of the Ballon d’or for the past decade, his chances took a serious deep after his and Liverpool’s failure to overcome three-peat champions Real Madrid. But if we’re being honest, this has been the one genuine threat to take the crown since Neymar in 2015.
After the World Cup, regardless of how many minutes Salah gets, it may be time for him to sit back and take a well earned break from a gruelling campaign that saw him play +50 games. However fast Jürgen Klopp may think he is, this summer is imperative for him to regain fitness because like the ancient African proverb says, “To run is not necessarily to arrive.”
Football never ends. In less than two weeks the World Cup arrives, Liverpool fans would then be hoping that further damage doesn’t come to their main man. As the 18/19 season approaches, questions would be asked of Mohammed Salah. “50 appearances this season but how about 50 goals?”, “Best in the league but best in the world?”. His detractors however, would be quick to point out that there have been many one season wonders in football. “So what about Mo?” I’ll be candid….No.