Liverpool has set one foot in the final of the Champions League. It’s a historical achievement, as The Red’s years of glory seemed to be far away. This season, however, Liverpool’s amazing performance has given hope again to the fans; the legendary club wasn’t dead, it was just asleep and it’s awakening.
While many factors can be attributed to Liverpool’s resurgence, the most prominent is the presence of a rising star: Mohammed Salah. 42 goals this season with The Reds, Liverpool’s second-highest goalscorer in a single season behind Ian Rush; three times winner of the Premier League Player of the Month in the same season; named in the 2017-18 FPA Team of the year, as well as the 2017-18 Player of the Year; first man from Africa and first Liverpool player to score 10 goals in a single campaign in Champions; leading goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues – overtaking Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Tottenham striker Harry Kane. Football records seem to be made with the only purpose of being broken by the Egyptian, who still has three league matches (the second-leg of CL semi-final, and the final, possibly), to put the bar even higher.
Salah after receiving the Player of the Year award given by the PFA. Photo taken from Marca.
Named the Egyptian Pharaoh, Mo’s already a hero in Liverpool due to his vital contribution to the club’s renaissance. Salah, a profess Muslim, has even become the unlikely inspiration for some Liverpool fans to rewrite the lyrics of 1996 hit “Good Enough” by Dodgy. The words of the chorus are adjusted to celebrate the feats of the Egyptian striker:
“If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too. If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, he’s sitting in the mosque that’s where I wanna be.”
A video posted on social media showing a group of Liverpool’ fans singing the song went viral. Salah gave his approval to the chant, and, as a unifying effect on the Red’s followers occurred, it has been cited as an example of inclusivity.
We, at Foothunch, have been impressed and delighted by Salah’s magnificent season. Football always prove itself to be a fertile soil for miracles to happen: the serious quest for the Champions’ title by a historical club after years in the shadow has had as a protagonist an Egyptian player, so, in honor to this marvelous case of the beautiful game, we want to write a series of articles about the man, his life, and the possible legacy he’ll leave.
Mohammed Salah was born the 15 of June 1992 in the city of Nagrig, Egypt. Growing up in a modest three-story house, Salah was the eldest of four children. His parents both worked for the government, while his father also traded the white flower that covers the surrounding countryside known as Jasmine.
Nagrig is 80 miles away from Cairo. Photo taken from The Sun.
His hometown was 100 miles away from the city of Nasr City, where the club adi El Mokawloon El Arab El Riyadi (Arab Contractors Sporting Club) has its basis. When Mo’ was 14, he travelled more than four hours by bus, sometimes changing lane five times, from his home to train with Arab Contractors. Then he took the same return journey.
Arduous work pays, that’s for sure. Salah made his senior team debut in the Egyptian Premier League coming on as a substitute on 3 May 2010 in a 1–1 away draw against El Mansoura. After his initial matches, he became a regular for the team, playing every single match in the 2011-2012 season.
Salah’s destiny could have been different if it wasn’t for a tragic event that remains as in the heart and memories of Egyptians: Port Said Stadium disaster. On the 1 of February 2012, a massive riot occurred at Port Said Stadium in Port Said, Egypt, following an Egyptian Premier League football match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly. 74 people were killed and more than 500 were injured after thousands of Al-Masry spectators stormed the stadium stands and the pitch and savagely attacked Al-Ahly fans. They used knives, swords, clubs, stones, bottles and fireworks against Al-Ahly fans, who tried to flee but found the stadium gates locked. The brutality of the act shocked the entire world. It was allegedly a political act, and, because of the riot, the Egyptian government shut down the domestic league for two years.
Several Egyptian players, such as Mohamed Aboutrika, Emad Motaeb and Mohamed Barakat decided to retire from professional football after the tragedy; that wasn’t Salah’s destiny. Swiss club Basel, who had been monitoring Mo’s for quite a while, invited him for a week’s training. On 10 April 2012, it was announced that Salah had signed for Basel on a four-year contract starting from 15 June 2012. A new era had begun for the pharaoh, who was now on European soil.
Wait for the second part of the series Mohammed Salah: The Rise of the Pharaoh on next week.