Egypt Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goal against Portugal
Liverpool's Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah said on Tuesday he is "doing his best" to recover from a shoulder injury in time for Egypt's opening World Cup clash against Uruguay on 15 June.
The 25-year-old injured shoulder ligaments during Liverpool's loss to Real Madrid in the European Champions League final on 26 May.
Early assessments indicated that Salah needed up to three weeks to return to action but Egypt coach Hector Cuper sounded confident on Tuesday, telling a news conference that his prized asset might be fit to play against Uruguay.
"I will do my best to play from the beginning," Salah said in an interview with American website Bleacherreport that was published on Tuesday.
The Egyptian international, who made 57 appearances with the Pharaohs, said it was a unique feeling to play for the national team.
"I’m always saying that when you wear the jersey of the national team, it’s something different, for any player in the world,” he added.
“But that doesn’t mean you play for your club like it’s...”
“You play for your own country with your feeling, your emotion. It’s different. You don’t play the same number of games for your country that you do for your club. And so it feels like you are really fighting for your country. It’s a different feeling.”
Salah, who won 34 individual awards during his stunning debut season at Liverpool, recalled the moment he was injured against Real Madrid after tangling with Sergio Ramos for the ball, saying that the first thing that he was thinking about was the Champions League final.
"I’m a human being, so I feel pain, and I was thinking about my head, was thinking about the Champions League final—after that, immediately I think about the World Cup," he said.
"You can’t think about the World Cup during the final. It’s the final of the Champions League!"
Asked about his World Cup ambitions, Salah said Egypt's approach would be different than that of the fans.
"You know, the people in Egypt have just wanted to be back in the World Cup for so long that everyone is just happy we made it."
"But if you ask me what we are saying to each other, as the players on the team, we are saying something different.”
The former Roma winger believes Egypt can take advantage from an underdogs tag at the World Cup, which would take pressure off their shoulders in their first appearance in the tournament since 1990.
"That is good for us because there is no pressure. It is also good because the rest of the world looks at us like we aren’t supposed to be there, and that is also good for us. There is no pressure on the players," he said.
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