Here’s a story you may have heard before.
A young footballer emerges as a great hope for his country’s national side. He has some ups and downs, but generally improves on his way to becoming a top player. He then has a huge breakout season, in which he defies expectations to become one of the best in the world.
Then injury strikes just before the World Cup.
For whatever cruel reason, fate always attempts to deny the world of its biggest footballing stars on the greatest stage. Be it Fernando Torres in 2010, Luis Suarez in 2014, and now Mohamed Salah in 2018. In case you were living under a rock this weekend (and in which case I am intensely jealous), you are probably aware that Salah picked up a shoulder injury early on in the Champions League final and had to be substituted.
There have since been serious questions about whether the Egyptian, his country’s talisman whom they desperately need in order to have any chance of achieving something in Russia this summer. Initial reports suggested it was unfortunately likely that he could miss the summer’s tournament, with Jürgen Klopp saying that Egypt “maybe lost a very important player for the World Cup”.
Not to fret, for the man himself is more upbeat.
“Despite the odds, I’m confident that I’ll be in Russia to make you all proud”, Salah tweeted yesterday.
If one were to worry (and I, dear reader, am a natural worrier), the choice of phrase “despite the odds” raises some concerns. This may suggest that the medical advice Salah has been given suggests an unlikely return in time for the tournament, but that he backs himself to recover more quickly.
On the positive side, barring a significant complication it doesn’t seem likely that there will be any problem being ready for the next Premier League season in August. While we all hope he will be there to perform in Russia, it doesn’t seem in doubt that he will be back ready to do the business at Anfield next season.