Two more goals last night and Mohamed Salah’s stake in football further rose to the point that him winning the Ballon d’Or ahead of perennial frontrunners, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, this year has begun to be mooted.
This is coming in a season which was supposed to see PSG star, Neymar, be in the position Salah now finds himself and that is thanks to a massively impressive 43 goals in 47 games for Liverpool so far this season.
His goals may not have won Liverpool the Premier League; that went to Manchester City, but they have firmly put him in line for world football’s most coveted individual prize.
This comes after being named PFA Player of the Year ahead of fine players such as Kevin De Bruyne (who was the early frontrunner for the award), Harry Kane and more, as well as appearing in the PFA Team of the Year.
But for Salah to actually beat Ronaldo or Messi to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or prize, his form would also need to transcend from Europe onto Egypt’s campaign during the 2018 FIFA World Cup holding in Russia from June 14.
Egypt had Salah’s five goals – including two in the final game against Congo – to thank for topping their FIFA World Cup qualifying group, and the Pharaohs would play in Group A along with host nation, Russia, 2010 World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay, and Saudi Arabia.
It’s a tough group but not one Egypt cannot qualify from, and if Salah can continue his scoring form at the World Cup, Egypt can fancy their chance of making it to the round of 16 where they could meet any one of former world champions Spain, reigning European champions Portugal, or even North African neighbours Morocco.
Such has been Salah’s form that his scoring prowess is all the more impressive when you take into account that he plays on the right of a front three and has outscored the centre-forward in that trident – Roberto Firmino – by 16 goals.
Coupled with the fact that the 31 league goals he’s scored so far for Liverpool are more than the number of league goals he scored at previous club, AS Roma, in the previous two seasons combined (29 goals), one begins to see the big picture as it concerns Salah.
Writing of Roma, he scored his 42nd and 43rd of the season against the Italians in a UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match which ended 5-2 in Liverpool’s favour, putting the Reds at an advantage to reach the competition’s final.
Those 43 goals also got Salah ahead of Real Madrid’s Ronaldo, who could level up or regain the top spot for goals scored in all competitions this season when he comes up against Bayern Munich in another UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg in Munich on Wednesday night.
It would matter little who finishes with more goals between Salah and Ronaldo, but a stellar World Cup performance would go a long way to decide who goes home with this year’s Ballon d’Or and you can bet Salah is all up for it.