Egypt's Salah earns glowing praise after blistering start in Italy

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 6 Mar 2015

After scoring six goals in seven appearances, Egypt's Salah has hit the headlines in Italian newspapers

Mohamed Salah
Juventus' Paul Pogba, left, competes for the ball with Fiorentina's Mohamed Salah, during an Italian Cup semifinal first leg soccer match between Juventus and Fiorentina, at the Juventus stadium in Turin, Italy, Thursday, March 5, 2015 (Photo: AP)

After scoring both goals for Fiorentina against Juventus in the 2-1 win in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Thursday, Egypt winger Mohamed Salah is basking in the glory of his superb performance.

The 22-year-old attacker has produced a string of scintillating displays with the Viola since his arrival last month on loan from Chelsea, scoring six goals in seven appearances on all fronts; three goals in Serie A, one in the Europa League, and two in Italian Cup play.

"He's in a state of grace, and hopefully he can continue," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said after the Juventus game.

When Montella was asked if Salah gave Fiorentina more tactical options, he replied directly: "Yes to a degree. The whole team is growing, not just Salah, though he is scoring a lot of goals."

"Salah settled in very well. We knew he was strong, but in all honesty his immediate impact has gone beyond expectations," he added.

Attacking midfielder Alessandro Diamanti, who plays besides Salah in the front line, also praised the Egyptian winger's performance with Fiorentina since he arrived last month.

"I’ve played with fast players before, but Salah is very technically gifted and can also score goals,” Diamanti said after the 2-1 win over Juventus.

Salah joined Fiorentina on loan from English Premier League leaders Chelsea last January until the end of the season after failing to book a regular place in the Blues' squad under coach Jose Mourinho.

Fiorentina director Daniele Prade also expressed his pleasure at Salah's display with the team.

"He’s a strong player who is giving us great satisfaction, immediately settled into the squad and already the team relies on him," Prade told Rai Sport.

"He scored an incredible goal running for 70 metres. It was like when you’re a kid, putting a cross forward for yourself and then running on to it."

Salah had also been linked with Roma and Inter, but Fiorentina swooped as part of the Juan Guillermo Cuadrado deal.

"Up until 27 January Cuadrado had a buy-out clause. At that moment we had to find an alternative, Chelsea had this strong player, we did well to choose and sign him.

"The move is our biggest economic move of January, but also our best one on a technical level. The squad has put itself at Salah’s disposal and he is working for the team, so they are getting the best out of each other."

Moreover Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has also praised Salah, who handed his team their first home defeat since falling to Bayern Munich two years ago.   

"We conceded one goal with a man (Salah) who ran 70 metres ball to feet. That’s not a tactical issue,” Allegri said, referring to Salah’s individual efforts during the game.

"He is a good player and an excellent signing for Fiorentina," the Juve boss concluded.

It was not just the Juventus management who were impressed by Salah’s performance. The Italian sports press were also impressed. Headlines included: "Salah conquers Juve" in Corriere dello Sport, while Panorama called him "The Egyptian Messi." La Gazzetta dello Sport also devoted an article to Salah, under the headline: "Salah, 6 goals in 7 games: Mourinho gave a phenomenon to Fiorentina."

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