Egypt's World Cup player profiles: Mo Salah, the one and only

Ahram Online , Ahram Online , Friday 8 Jun 2018,
Egypt star winger Mohamed Salah

The only player to earn a cult status in the current Egypt crop, Mohamed Salah is the nation's undisputed hero.

Such is his impact that gloom had engulfed the country when he was taken off in the first-half of Liverpool's Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on 26 May, having injured his shoulder after tangling for the ball with combative defender Sergio Ramos.

Ramos came in for fierce attack from angry Egyptian fans, who used profanities to describe the Spain defender on social networking websites as they feared the worst when Salah burst into tears on his way out against Real Madrid in Kiev.

According to the Egyptian Football Association, Salah needed three weeks to recover and be fit to feature in Egypt's World Cup campaign. This means he is likely to miss the opening game against Uruguay in 15 June but should be ready for the other Group A games against hosts Russia and Arab Gulf side Saudi Arabia.

“It was a very tough night, but I'm a fighter. Despite the odds, I'm confident that I'll be in Russia to make you all proud,” Salah said.

“Your love and support will give me the strength I need,” he added.

The 25-year-old's presence will be key to Egypt's chances of advancing to the knockout stage in only their third World Cup appearance.

He is credited for ending the Pharaohs' 28-year wait for an appearance in the football's most prestigious showpiece, having netted five goals in six group games in the qualifying campaign, including a remarkable double in the decisive 2-1 victory at home to Congo last October.

The brace included a famous stoppage-time penalty, with Salah showing nerves of steel to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot and send more than 80,000 supporters into raptures at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium.

He has enjoyed a dream debut season with Liverpool, setting several records and finishing as the Premier League's top scorer with 32 goals, the biggest tally ever in a 38-game campaign.

Egypt coach Hector Cuper mainly relies on the pace and finishing skills of Salah to make the most of the team's counter-attacking strategy. The Argentinean will be keeping his fingers crossed that his prized asset would be available in Russia.

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