The Return of the Egyptian King
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For over a decade, the debate over the best player in the world was confined to soccer superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, as their abilities slowly decline, a prolific Egyptian winger has been taking the world by storm. Mohamed Salah, the player in question, has been sensational this season, earning praise from former players and pundits alike. His spectacular form has made him a strong candidate for the best player in the world.
Since the start of the 2021-2022 season, Salah has scored 15 goals in 14 games. These stellar performances aren’t just coming from easy games either. Salah has faced many of the best teams in the world to achieve this feat, including Manchester City, Chelsea F.C., and Atlético Madrid. The Egyptian is currently at his prime, breaking countless records and establishing his legacy. Recently, he overtook Didier Drogba as the highest scoring African player in Premier League history. He also became the first Liverpool player to score in 10 consecutive games.
As Liverpool traveled to face Manchester United, Salah had a chance to show his skills while going head-to-head with Ronaldo, a man whose incredible soccer legacy needs no further introduction. Following great anticipation for the bout, Salah showed why he is one of the best in the world. He scored three goals and created an assist, taking his combined goals and assist tally for the season above 20. In the end, Liverpool won the game 5-0, thrashing the Red Devils. Salah’s performance sent a clear message to teams around the globe: the Egyptian king is here to conquer.
Salah has also taken significant strides to supplement his lethal goalscoring. He has assisted six goals and created 27 chances. Anyone who watches him knows that he has improved on his passing, which allows him to launch balls with pinpoint precision all across the pitch. He has been one of the best playmakers in the league, while also being one of the best finishers across Europe.
Despite his recent success, things weren’t always bright for Salah. As a child, he had to commute to training for over four hours everyday, five days a week. His hard work eventually brought him to Chelsea F.C., where he was ultimately deemed a failed talent. He was scarcely able to drum up any sort of momentum and was often overshadowed by his teammates. Salah, with the mentality of a true champion, didn’t let these failures affect him. He went to Italy for a few years, playing for ACF Fiorentina and A.S. Roma. He was able to improve tremendously and caught the attention of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, who quickly brought him over to the Merseyside club. Ever since, he has enjoyed great success and attained superstar status, becoming one of the most popular players on the globe.
At the age of 29, Salah can look forward to many more years at the top of the world. Fellow Liverpool goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo revealed a unique side of Salah’s mentality. “[Salah] is always training or recovering. Even a few hours after a game, he is doing something to recover and trying to be ready for the next game,” he said. Moreover, Salah has worked relentlessly on his conditioning, meaning that he is more than capable of playing games two to three times a week. He has boasted an impressive injury record, being one of the few Liverpool players to stay healthy for the majority of the season.
Getting to the top is hard, but staying there is even harder. Salah was in similar form only once before in the 2017-2018 season, his first for Liverpool. However, he simply failed to keep up that same level of performance for the next few seasons. He was by no means underperforming, as he regularly scored over 20 goals a season, but he clearly fell off from the unprecedented heights of his maiden Liverpool season. This season, however, Salah looks sharper than ever, giving him the chance to break even more records that stand in his way. With Liverpool in strong contention for both the Premier League and the Champions League, the sky’s the limit for Salah. If he can take Liverpool to glory this season, he will be a strong candidate for the prestigious Ballon d’Or Award. Looking forward, these next few years will define Salah’s legacy as one of the best players of his generation.