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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Egypt v Portugal: Mo Salah, Ronaldo on fire

Hatem Maher , Friday 23 Mar 2018
Mohamed Salah
Egypt winger Mohamed Salah (L), Portugal forward (R)
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Two red-hot forwards who are racking up goals at will in the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga come face to face in an anticipated duel as Egypt take on Portugal in a friendly game on Friday.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo meet on the back of some inspiring displays as they tussle for the European Golden Shoe award along with Argentinean wizard Lionel Messi.

The Friday meeting in Switzerland also comes amid intense media speculation that Real Madrid were lining up a bid to land Liverpool's prized asset Salah in what could be one of the major signings of next summer's transfer window.

Salah is the current top scorer of the illustrious Premier League with 28 goals and made headlines when he struck four times and dished out an assist to guide Liverpool to a 5-0 rout of Watford last Saturday.

One day later, a resurgent Ronaldo also netted four goals to steer Real Madrid to a 6-3 La Liga win over Girona in a thrilling affair, continuing his prolific goal-scoring run of late as he continues to chase Barcelona's Messi and Salah.

Ronaldo, who made a slow start to the season before regaining his top form at just the right time, has 22 league goals to his name, three short of Messi and six behind Salah.

"Salah has had a phenomenal season," Liverpool's former Australian winger Harry Kewell told talkSPORT.

"People are saying about Player of the Year, but I'd even go that next step.

"If he was to have a fantastic World Cup, gets a couple of goals and plays well, and then continues again next season, why not go for the Ballon d'Or? He's got the goals, I don't see why he couldn't win it."

"Not easy"

Egypt's friendly against European champions Portugal is their first World Cup warm-up and they will need Salah to be at his lethal best to assure his home-based teammates that causing upsets against high-profile opponents is possible.

Salah's goal-scoring prowess and his knack to dribble at opponents and wrong-foot them will be a concern for Portugal's rearguard.

"He's a great player -- if not the best, then one of the most important players for Liverpool," Portugal winger Bernardo Silva told Sport 360 on Monday.

"It's great to have some of the best footballers in the world playing against us. Of course, it's not easy to play against him, because he's so good, but it's good."

Similarly, Ronaldo would be very hard to contain at the other end. The goal-scoring machine outmuscles opponents in aerial challenges far too easily and scores from very tight angles with his lethal foot.

"Cristiano Ronaldo? No worries, we have (right-back) Ahmed Fathi," Egypt's assistant coach Osama Nabih quipped.

"Ronaldo seemed to hang mid-air before scoring against Paris Saint-Germain," he added with a laugh.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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