Mohamed Salah finished 11th in the 2023 Ballon d’Or, having scored over 30 goals for his club for the fourth time in six campaigns with Liverpool, and reaching his highest assist haul in a single season (16) in all competitions.
The Egyptian joined Liverpool in 2017, and starting in 2018 he was a mainstay in the Ballon d’Or top 10, finishing sixth in 2018, fifth in 2019, seventh in 2021, and fifth again in 2022 (there was no award in 2020).
Salah and Liverpool look back to their best after the club as a whole hd a disappointing season in 2022/23, though Salah was certainly a bright spot. The Egyptian will feel aggrieved to be so overlooked in the award list thus far in his career, however, even amongst his colleagues: teammates Virgil Van Dijk and Sadio Mané both finished higher in recent years than Salah has managed, though the only Liverpool player to have won the award was Michael Owen back in 2001.
While Van Dijk and Mané are themselves deserving of their roses, it’s nonetheless clear that Salah is underrated by this ranking system. He is perhaps unfortunate that Liverpool has not won more as a club, and that Egypt has fallen somewhat short in recent years as well. Salah suffers, too, the same tax many other contemporary footballers have been forced to pay: existing at the same time as Lionel Messi.
This season Salah became the Premier League record goal scorer for Liverpool, and he has reached the 50 goal landmark for his country as well. Given his drive for setting individual records, you wouldn’t put a late-career Ballon d’Or past him...