After a stellar 2017 that fed into an even more stellar start to 2018, for a time it seemed as though everything was coming up Mohamed Salah. Whether it was for club or country, it felt as though the Egyptian superstar really could do no wrong.
Then, an injury in the Champions League final. A difficult World Cup that paired on the pitch struggles for Salah and Egypt with off the pitch controversy. He’s started to re-discover his form again for Liverpool, but after nothing but success, it’s been a difficult spell.
The fans, though, and especially his Egyptian supporters, haven’t wavered. So says former Egyptian star Mohamed Zidan, who had a journeyman’s career at the club level that ended in 2015 but was a top player for his country for nearly a decade.
“We all have his back and we always pray for him and always follow him because he is representing us as Egyptians and as Arabs,” Zidan told Goal this week following Salah’s 90th minute winner against Tunisia in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
“He’s a good example, as we were before—me and other Egyptian colleagues who played in Europe, like Mido, Ahmed Hassan, and many other players. Now Mo Salah is continuing the legacy of Egyptian players in Europe to make the Egyptian kids keep dreaming.”
Salah was recently nominated for BBC’s African Footballer of the Year honour and, despite the rough middle to 2018, is considered favourite to take home the award—one of the two major honours for players from the continent—for a second time in a row.
So far this season at the club level Salah has scored eight goals and four assists in 17 games, with three goals and two assists coming in the past four league games, and the player looks poised to head into 2019 once again in top form.
“Today is Mo Salah time,” Zidan added. “It is going very well, he is giving hope to all Egyptians and then in the future it will be other kids from Egypt that will play in Europe.”