Mohamed Salah: Egypt's Soccer Hero
By: Christian Jimenez/Arab America Contributing Writer
The sport of soccer is the most popular in the world and it is enjoyed by billions across every country. With everyone excited for the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022, I decided to write an article about one of the most famous Arab soccer players today. His name is Mohamed Salah and he is one of the most loved soccer players from Egypt.
Mohamed Salah’s Early Life:
Mohamed Salah was born in the Egyptian city of Nagrig, Egypt on June 15th, 1992. During his early life, Salah had a tough time with his academics at school, which was concerning to his parents. He made up for not doing well in school through his skills and passion for soccer. Salah was interested in many soccer players and looked up to them as idols, such as Zidane. His practice and dedication would pay off soon enough where he would play on his first soccer club. This team was called El Mokawloon based in Cairo where he joined around the age of 14 in the year 2006. However, this event would cause more problems with academics due to the time needed between soccer and school. Mohamed decided to focus more on soccer at the end of the day rather than schoolwork according to sportytell.com. In May 2010, when he was 18 years old, he made his senior team debut in the Egyptian Premier League on May 4, 2010, where his team drew against El Mansoura. He scored his first goal around December 25th, 2010 in a draw against Al Ahly.
Soon after making his debut Salah left Mokawloon and Egypt and moved to Europe to play. The decision, in 2012, to leave was sparked by the fact that the Egyptian League was suspended due to a riot in Port Said, Egypt. The first European team that he would join was FC Basel, a Swiss soccer club. He would go on to sign a four-year contract with this Swiss team. In his first year with FC Basel, he would debut in UEFA Europa League and the Champions League. They would advance to the Europa semi-finals and win the Swiss Cup runner-up. Salah would also win the Uhrencup with FC Basel as well according to sportytell.com. Ironically, after his participation in FC Basel he would join the team he helped beat in the Champions League group stage, Chelsea.
Salah would sign a contract with Chelsea worth approximately 11 million pounds, and would make his debut with the team in February, 2014 against Manchester United. His stint with Chelsea was in jeopardy due to a request from the Egyptian government for him to join the military. Luckily, he would not need to conscript into military service due to a meeting with Egypt’s prime minister, the ministry of education, and the Egyptian national manager. However, Salah did not play much for Chelsea during the 2014-2015 season. He would then be loaned over to Fiorentina where he debuted for them on February 2, 2015. He played well enough that Fiorentina wanted him to play for the entire 18-month loan period but Mohamed declined this option and instead decided to play for Roma. Mohamed Salah made his debut for Roma on August 22, 2015. He would end up scoring around 15 goals and would help his team qualify for the Champions League, and he would also achieve the 2015-2016 player of the year award as well according to footchampion.com.
Later Career and International Play
After 2016, he would join his present-day team, Liverpool. He would sign with Liverpool and be entitled to close to 50 million pounds, which would also be Liverpool’s first signing of an Egyptian player. He would debut with the team on August 12, 2017, and he would have 36 goals during his debut season as well. This high goal count made him the top scorer in Europe’s top five soccer leagues, the Premier League(England), Bundesliga(Germany), La Liga(Spain), Serie A(Italy), and Ligue 1(France). This amount of scored goals would also be higher than other world soccer stars, such as Messi, according to sportytell.com. During 2018, he would win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, and he would help lead his team in the Champions League where they reached the Finals against Real Madrid. Unfortunately, Salah suffered an injury and was unable to play the entire game during the Finals. He continues to play for Liverpool today as a forward and is now famous the world over as he is a strong scorer and still one of the best players on Liverpool. Salah has gone a long way since being associated with Mokaloon in 2006. Along with these professional leagues, Mohamad Salah also made his country of Egypt proud by joining their national team.
Salah would play with Egypt in the 2011 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, and he would also play for the 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2019 African cups for Egypt as well. His first goal internationally was against Sierra Leone in the 2012 African cup, and would lead his team to the African Cup Finals in 2017. During the 2018 World Cup, he would help Egypt get past the qualifying stage by scoring a last-minute goal against Congo, and this led to Egypt’s first appearance in the group stage of the World Cup since the 90s. He would end up scoring two goals in the 2018 World Cup against Russia and Saudi Arabia which both ended up as losses. Today Salah has scored around 117 goals for Liverpool and has scored around 194 goals since his start all the way back to El Mokawloon. Salah continues to be revered across Egypt as a hero in sports and has no doubt inspired many other Egyptians to compete in soccer as well. He is happily married and is a practicing Muslim doing a lot of charity work benefiting his hometown of Nagirg, and even gave money to a man who attempted to rob his house according to footchampion.com. His ability in soccer and his giving nature will keep Salah as a revered figure in Egypt well after he retires from soccer.
Check out Arab America’s blog here!