Egyptian FA chief voices support to 'icon' Salah after criticism

Hatem Maher , Sunday 29 May 2022

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) chief sent a message of support to Mohamed Salah after the Liverpool talisman received rare criticism at home following the Reds' bitter 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah
Liverpool s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (C) reacts after Real Madrid s victory in the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022 (AFP)


Salah was denied on three occasions by some brilliant stops from Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois, with the Spanish giants eventually coming out on top courtesy of a second-half goal from lively Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior.

The defeat marked a painful end to Salah's season after he also lost the Premier League title with Liverpool and the African Nations Cup final with Egypt.

He also missed a crucial penalty as the Pharaohs suffered a shootout loss to Senegal in a World Cup qualifying playoff in March.

Salah still won some individual awards, including the Premier League's Golden Boot after he finished as the elite competition's joint top scorer with 23 goals.

Some intense social media debates raged over Salah following Liverpool's Champions League loss, with some saying he had produced a superb display that was worthy of at least a goal and others criticizing him and questioning his attitude.

Salah came under fire in particular for his pre-match comments, when he spoke about a possible "revenge" against Real Madrid, against whom he was taken off in the 2018 Champions League final after suffering a shoulder injury.

Some fans said such comments were distracting to him and his teammates, but what made the rounds was a stunning video that showed a group of Madrid-supporting Egyptian fans insulting Salah as he appeared on a giant screen collecting the runners-up silver medal.

Many then leapt to his support, saying Salah did not deserve such a treatment, given what he had done for his country. Among those was the EFA chief, Gamal Allam.

"Mohamed Salah is an icon of Egyptian football and a role model to Egyptian youths after he raised the bar of ambitions and dreams so high," Allam said in a statement.

"Hats off to Salah for being the best ambassador for Egyptian and African football, as well as an inspiration to millions of young people in Egypt and the Arab world.

"It's necessary to support to support and stand by Salah at this time to continue his journey and lead his club and Egypt to more achievements."

Salah looked disheartened as he walked by the coveted trophy following the loss against Real Madrid, but he beamed to Liverpool's passionate supporters on Sunday as the team took part in an open-top bus parade around the city after winning two domestic cups.

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