Mo Salah The Egyptian King
Born on 15th June 1992 in Nagrig, Northern Egypt. Mo Salah signed his first professional contract with his hometown club, El Mokawloon, in the Egyptian Premier League in 2010. He scored his first goal for the club on Christmas Day 2010 and was a regular in the side by the end of the 2010/2011 season.
Mo Salah appeared in every game of the 2011/2012 season until the Port Said Stadium on 1st February 2012, where 74 people lost their lives and over 500 were injured in a stampede inside the stadium. The rest of the season was suspended and ultimately cancelled before Egyptian government shut down the league for two years.
Swiss side FC Basel had reportedly been following Mo Salah’s progression and after the Egyptian Premier League had been cancelled they organized a friendly against the Egyptian U23 side in Basel. Mohamed Salah only played in the second half, but scored twice to help Egypt to a 4:3 win.
After the game he was offered the opportunity to stay in Basel for a week to train with the club and on the 10th April 2012 Salah signed for the Swiss team. That summer he represented his country at the 2012 Olympics in London scoring in all 3 group stage games, before heading to FC Basel for the coming season.
Mo Salah scored in his first appearance for FC Basel in a pre-season friendly against Steaua Bucuresti, before making his official debut in the preliminary stages of the UEFA Champions League on 8th August. He made his Swiss Super League debut 4 days later and scored his first league goal the following week.
Mo Salah’s first goal in a European game came in April 2013 in Europa League quarter final against Tottenham Hotspur, which Basel won on penalties after drawing 4 all on aggregate. He then scored against his future club, Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge in the semi-finals, but FC Basel lost on aggregate and were knocked out of the tournament.
FC Basel did, however, win the Swiss Super League in Mo Salah’s first season with the Swiss side. The following season, FC Basel were drawn against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the UEFA Champions League. Salah did not take part in the pre-match handshake with Maccabi players in the first leg, which FC Basel dismissed as a “coincidence” and not a snub.
However, Salah was under pressure from many in Egypt not to take part in the second leg or travel to Israel. He did not bend to the pressure and even took part in the pre-match handshake, but chose to fist-bump the Maccabi players rather than shake their hands. He went on to score in the game, helping Basel progress in the tournament.
Mohamed Salah faced Chelsea for the second season in a row, this time in the UEFA Champions League, and scored the equalizer in a 2:1 win at Stamford Bridge. He then scored the only goal of the game in the return leg in Basel on the 26th November 2013. Two months later Mo Salah was back at the Bridge, only this time he was signing for Chelsea FC for a reported $18 million.
He made his Premier League debut for the blues in a 3:0 win over Newcastle United on the 8th February 2014 and scored his first goal for his new club in the London Derby against Arsenal London in front of his home fans in a 6:0 win at Stamford Bridge a month later. But the Egyptian’s time in England was nearly cut short before the start of the 2014/2015 season.
When it was reported that he could be called for military duty back in Egypt. After the registration for an education scheme was rescinded by the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education. Salah then met with the Minister, as well as the Egyptian Prime Minister and the national team coach where an arrangement was made to spare him from military service and allowed him to return to Chelsea FC.
However, he was hardly used by Jose Mourinho and, on 2nd February 2015, he was sent on loan to Fiorentina. Salah chose to wear the number 74 on his shirt in memory of the people who died at the Port Said Stadium. At the end of the season the Italian side looked to activate a clause in the loan to make the move permanent, but Mohamed Salah refused to stay at the club, even loan, and instead joined fellow Serie A side, AS Roma for the coming season.
He finished his first season at AS Roma as the club’s top goalscorer with 15 goals and 6 assists in all competitions and was named AS Roma Player of the Year. All of this prompted the club to make Salah’s deal permanent for the 2016/2017 season. Salah scored his first club hat-trick in a 3:0 win over FC Bologna on 6th November and on the final day of the season, he was substituted for AS Roma and Italy legend Francesco Totti who was making his final appearance for the club on 28th May 2017.
Just one month later, AS Roma agreed to sell Salah to Liverpool FC, bringing him back to the Premier League for an initial $48 million, a club record at the time. He scored on his debut against Watford FC and was named Player of the Month for August by the club’s supporters. In November Salah scored in a 1:1 draw with Chelsea but did not celebrate out of respect for his former club.
As well as the victims of a terror attack at the North Sinai Mosque in Egypt just two days prior. On the 17th March 2018, the Egyptian front man scored 4 goals in a 5:0 win over Watford FC, overtaking Harry Kane and Lionel Messi as the top scorer in Europa’s top 5 leagues.
And from there, the awards kept coming. By the end of the season Salah was named; First African and first Liverpool player to score 10 goals in a single UEFA Champions League season. PFA Player’s Player of the Year named in the PFA Team of the Year, Liverpool record for the most goals scored in a debut season across all competitions with 43 goals.
The Premier League’s all-time top goal scorer for a 38 game season with 32 goals and received the Premier League Golden Boot for the season. But Salah’s season didn’t end well. When Liverpool made it to the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, Salah’s shoulder was injured in a tussle with Sergio Ramos and he left the pitch in tears after just 30 minutes.
His injury led to doubts about him making it to the World Cup 2018 in Russia. Salah had been Egypt’s top scorer with 5 goals in qualification for their first World Cup since 1990. He was named in the squad and missed Egypt’s opener against Uruguay, which they lost 1:0, but was back in the side for their second game against hosts Russia.
He scored Egypt’s only goal of the game from the penalty spot, 4 days after his 26th birthday, but they ultimately lost 3:1, pretty much sealing after their fate to leave the competition after the group stage. Mohamed Salah also scored in Egypt’s final game at the World Cup in a 2:1 loss to Saudi Arabia.
On the 30th August 2018, Salah was named in third place for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award and then third place for the best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award the following week. To top his accolades for the year, Salah was, controversially, awarded the 2018 FIFA Puskas award for his goal against Everton FC in the Liverpool derby earlier in the year.
Although he started the 2018/2019 season slower than his first season at the club, Liverpool’s Egyptian king is still considered one of the best players in the Premier League. But can he get back to the levels he was regularly reaching in the 2017/2018 season ? Let us know your thought in the comment below.