The meteoric rise of Mohamed Salah
This is the case of a gem left to collect dust by the “Special One” but unleashed at his attacking best by the “Normal One”. Mohamed Salah, the 25-year-old Egyptian Footballer has currently taken the Premier league by storm ever since his £38 million club record transfer to Liverpool.
Chelsea were the first team to notice the Egyptian, primarily because of his speed, dribbling skills and ball control in the attacking half of the ground. During his time with FC Basel, he scored a handful of goals including some career defining ones - like the one against Chelsea in a Europa League semi-final match (2012-2013 season) at Stamford Bridge.
Salah also scored the equalizer against Chelsea in the 2–1 away win during the group stage (2013-2014 season) of UEFA Champions league, and was the pioneer in making FC Basel advance further in the tournament by scoring the only goal in the reverse fixture.
Considering his thumping performance against them, Chelsea sealed his services with a reported fee of £15 million.
Things didn't go as expected at Chelsea, as he scored only 2 goals in his 19 appearances across all competitions over the course of two seasons. This dismal performance at the Bridge forced him on an 18 month loan move to Fiorentina.
At Fiorentina, Salah scored 6 important goals in his 16 appearances in addition to 2 important away goals in a 2-1 win against Juventus in Coppa-Italia semi-finals - 9 goals in total across all competitions.
Banking on these performances, the club tried making his loan deal into a permanent one. But the swashbuckling winger had other ideas, as he decided to join rival Roma.
This move to AS Roma revealed Salah's true potential that made the world gaze at him in awe. While in Rome, 'Mo' proceeded to scored 34 goals in 83 appearances. During his second season with Roma, he was at his scintillating best, finishing as club's highest goal scorer with 17 goals and 12 assists in all competitions, making him the club's Player of the Season.
It was the summer of 2017 when Liverpool decided to sign the stylish winger for club record fee of £38 million and change his future forever.
The Egyptian international did have his doubters when he first made the move to Liverpool from Roma in the summer - but those discerning voices have now been firmly silenced.
Salah scored his first goal for Liverpool in his debut match against Watford on 12th August 2017. There has been no looking back since then. The winger has scored 28 goals along with 9 assists in the league, pulling 4 goals ahead of Spurs' trump card Harry Kane in the race for the golden boot.
In the process, Salah also became the second fastest player for Liverpool to reach the 20 goals mark in 26 appearances. In addition to this, the player has been named “Premier League Player of the Month” twice. With still 7 matches left to go in the Premier league, as well as Liverpool still in contention for Champions league crown, the sky is the limit.
We can rightly expect more and more goals from the “Egyptian Messi”, and his chances of winning the golden boot, and maybe even the Ballon d'or if he repeats his antics with Egypt in the World Cup are not looking too shabby at the moment.Published 18 Mar 2018, 01:40 IST