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Ex-Red Tips Mohamed Salah for Ballon d’Or

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Former Liverpool winger Harry Kewell believes the Egyptian star could beat Messi and Ronaldo to this year’s prize.

Liverpool v Watford - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah is up to 28 league goals and has the Premier League record of 31 goals in a 38-game season well in sight. He’s up to 36 overall and, if Liverpool get past the current round of the Champions League and Salah has a few more good outings, Liverpool’s all-time record of 47 isn’t entirely out of reach.

Throw in the 12 assists, the way he unsettles defenders, his willingness to work and track back and it all adds up to a World Class season, one that could see him named the Premier League’s player of the year. And with a strong showing for Egypt in the World Cup and start to next season, it could even mean more than that.

“People are saying about Player of the Year, but I’d even go that next step,” former Liverpool winger Harry Kewell told Talksport. “If he was to have a fantastic World Cup, gets a couple of goals and plays well, then continues again next season, why not go for the Ballon d’Or? I don’t see why he couldn’t win it.”

Salah has already been named last season’s African Player of the Year for his efforts carrying the Egyptian national team to the World Cup, his starring turn at last winter’s Africa Cup of Nations, and his strong second half to the 2016-17 season with Roma and start to the 2017-18 campaign with Liverpool.

And, since then, he’s only gotten better. Currently, Salah has 36 goals and 12 assists on the year while Lionel Messi is at 35 goals and 16 assists. Salah, though, has played fewer games and has a goal involvement every 68 minutes—compared to Messi’s goal involvement ever 72 minutes. Ronaldo, meanwhile, is having a down year.

Messi’s name may carry a lot of weight, but based on what the players have done so far this season there’s a good case for Salah being right up there with the Argentine. Now, the one who does more for his club the rest of the way in the Champions League and for his country at the World Cup could well end up favourite.

“He has this amazing dribbling ability, and defenders are scared of it,” added Kewell, who has moved into management and currently is in charge at League Two’s Crawley Town. “That’s the key with Salah—he drives at people, he’s chopping, turning, dribbling, and people just don’t know how to deal with him.”

“It’s a part of the game that players believe they can do, but when you get someone who can actually dribble—and obviously the best is Messi—who can run at defenders and be able to chop and change on a dime, and Salah can do this, you just can’t stop it.”