To Conquer Fear, you must become Fear – Ra’s Al Ghul
It is May 2014. Mohamed Salah, then in the blue of Chelsea, had just been replaced at half-time vs Norwich. Jose Mourinho, in all his narc glory, tells the Egyptian to come back when he is ready to be a footballer. He was gone in the summer. Like Bruce Wayne being told off by Falcone, the Egyptian went on an odyssey of self discovery with a strong yearning to return one day.
Many a player that had been badly burnt by the intense heat of the English Premier league would never touch it again. Even worse, when the blacksmith is the one previously known as the “Special One.” Greatness is always achieved by those who do not wilt or melt away… forged by the fire to prove the doubters wrong -the true Men of Steel.
Years pass and the opportunity to return to the Premier league is on the table. Mohamed Salah grabs it with both hands. A chance to prove the doubters wrong, a chance to work with Jurgen Klopp, a chance to remove the stain on his name. Many were doubtful, claiming they had good reason. Some clueless “pundits” like Mina Rzouki of BBC went out of their way to write him off before he even kicked a ball for Liverpool.
He has a lot of pace about him, I’m not convinced of his footballing IQ, I do think he is a player who runs forward and then looks second, which irritates me somewhat …he is for me another Juan Cuadrado…
Mina Rzouki – BBC Football “Pundit” ( LOL )
But Salah just went about his work, unfazed. He’s first few games saw him get on the score sheet but also miss a host of simple chances… he was still finding his feet (excuse the pun)
He kept going and before long, he was in full stride. He’s been there ever since. Those misses were creases that were quickly ironed out by Klopp and his backroom staff. They were just happy that he was getting into good positions, which an important starting point. They even altered the trajectory of his runs in training and in a short space of time he became more prolific or as he stands ahead of his closest rival for the golden boot, the goal poacher ( excuse the pun, again) Harry Kane.
He began demolishing teams, with the help of his forward partners Sadio Mane and the energy bunny reincarnate, Roberto Firmino. Sadio Mane had dipped in form because he had to give up his favorite starting point, but he eventually accepted that Liverpool were strongest with Salah starting ( and finishing) on the right. Oxlade Chamberlain found his form too and everyone realized that for Liverpool to get firing, getting the ball to Egyptian in dangerous positions as quick as possible almost always ended with the ball in the back of the net.
Teams started to double up on the Egyptian. This tactic many saw as the solution to finally stopping him in his tracks. But it actually had the opposite reaction. Dedicating more players to mark Salah meant their was space for others to exploit and the Reds continued to pummel teams. Even with the added obstacles, Salah continued to score. In fact, his goals got better and better.
The songs of adulation grew louder : “Mo Salah! Mo Salah! Mo Salah! running down the wing… Salaaaaaaaaaaah the Egyptian King” rang out in terraces across the land.
Plaudits and awards were a monthly occurrence. “Hardcore” Man United fans who hated Liverpool had Mohamed Salah as their fantasy league captain. I don’t even want to imagine the bipolar emotions going through that lot on match days.
Mohamed Salah achievements this season thus far:
- 41 Goals
- 11 Assists
- 3x Player of the Month
- PFA Team of the year
- African Player of the year
- PFA Player of the year
Manish Bhasin: Could you ever have dreamt that your return to the Premier League could have gone so well?’
Amazingly, the season is not yet done. A few more premiership games to go still, a few more records to break, and of course his former Club Roma await in the Champions League semifinal. Roma have said they have devised a plan to neutralize Mohamed Salah. FORTY ONE goals later, all we can say is, Good luck with that.
Mohamed Salah epitomizes the power a strong mind – Mental fortitude coupled with a unyielding will to succeed. A true role model, a wonderfully humble person, the best in the England as voted by his peers. Now to conquer Europe with Liverpool, and with Egypt, the world.
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