Liverpool are in the Champions League final. Mohamed Salah is likely to end up one of the three finalists for the 2018 Ballon d’Or. Not many would have predicted either at the start of the season—and now the question is whether both can win it all.
Salah has been on scintillating form for 18 months, and with Liverpool going deep in Europe and Egpyt making their World Cup return, he’s rightly getting plaudits. Speaking to Viasport and Jamie Carragher on Wednesday, though, he tried to play them down.
“I haven’t scored for two games now—maybe I’ll just keep some goals for the final!” he said jokingly when asked by Carragher if making it to the Champions League final could mean, amongst other things, a chance for Salah at winning the Ballon d’Or.
“It’s not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo,” he continued, more seriously. “I’m playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying to the final came with great team work that I cannot do alone.
“I know all of Arab people wish the best for me and they are happy every time I win, but now, at the moment, I am only thinking about the final and to bring the trophy to Anfield. We have to be aware of their quality, but they have to be aware of ours.”
They will have to be aware Salah’s quality most of all, perhaps, but Wednesday showed the potential danger of putting the defensive focus on him—when Roma did that, the result was Sadio Mané stepping up and putting in a man of the match performance.
For all Salah’s goals and all the awards he’s rightly won Liverpool are more than just a single dangerous attacking player. A good performance for him in the final, though, to go with a win for the team could well make him the Ballon d’Or frontrunner.
“I try my best always to help the rest of the team to win,” he added. “We’ve had a great season now and we have to think about the next two games in the Premier League and then the Champions League.”