Ballon d'Or 2019: Egypt coach Javier Aguirre backs Mohamed Salah to win the coveted award
What's the story?
Egypt coach Javier Aguirre has claimed that if The Pharaohs' sharp-shooter Mohamed Salah can lead them to Africa Cup of Nations glory, there will be no one standing between him and this year's Ballon d'Or.
In case you didn't know...
After Lionel Messi crashed out of the Copa America following Argentina's loss to Brazil in the semi-finals, his chances of lifting the coveted prize for a record sixth time have dropped.
Salah's Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk is now the odds-on favorite for the accolade, however, the Egyptian forward is not far behind.
Salah is the fastest player to 50 goals for The Reds and the third fastest overall in the Premier League, behind Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The heart of the matter
After a record-breaking 2017-18 season, Salah could only manage a sixth-place finish at the 2018 Ballon d'Or gala.
But having won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and finishing as the top scorer in the English top-flight for the second year in a row, he is guaranteed a much better finish this time around.
Egypt coach Javier Aguirre fancies his star player's chances of lifting the prestigious individual award this year, especially if he can lead The Pharaohs to a record-extending eighth title at the AFCON. He told Cadena SER: (Via Kingfut)
“I see him fighting and contending to win the Ballon d’Or especially since he won the Champions League with Liverpool. If he can manage to lead Egypt to the African title nobody can stand in his way.”
Liberian legend George Weah is the only African player to have ever won the award and Salah would join elite company if he can win the prize himself.
Salah will be looking to add to his goal tally in the ongoing AFCON when Egypt face South Africa in their Round of 16 fixture at The Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.