Mohamed Salah: peaceful celebrations

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One has to be skilful to make Brazilian internationals look like fools. Mohamed Salah managed to do just that ten years ago, at the Olympic Games in London. The only thing that the Brazilian full back Marcello could do, was stand on his toes. Central defender Thiago Silva did not do even that, the Egyptian flashes right past him. It’s 2012 and Salah is full of confidence. He has just signed a professional contract with FC Basel. However, it will take another five years or so before he becomes one of the best players in the world.

AFRICA CUP

That he is, Salah proved once again last week in the group matches of the Africa Cup. After Egypt’s loss in the opening game against Nigeria, the star attacker was there when he had to, last Saturday, January 15, in the game against Guinea-Bissau. For a moment he seems to be offside, but then he sneaks behind the Guinea Bissau defense line just in time. Amrou El Soulia brings the ball to the edge of the goal area with a watched arc and Salah completes the ball on goal, keeper Jonas Mendes cannot stop the roller. In the 2-1 against Morocco last sundae, he scored again, Mo Salah and provided an assist. Instead of celebrating he consoled his Moroccan opponents after the match. Salah will surely celebrate if he manages to bring Egypt its 8th African trophy.

This position symbolizes balance in life, yoga amateur MO Salah once explained to the English press

With 16 goals to date, Mohamed Salah is well on his way to becoming the Premier League’s top scorer for the third time. In recent seasons, he entertained the crowd with his goal parties.

Broad smiles. Sticking his tongue out of the mouth. Arms spread defiantly wide. Or with a bow to Mecca; nose down on the grass.

His yoga pose has become iconic: standing on his right foot only, with the sole of the other pressed to his knee. His eyes closed and his hands clasped in front as if he is praying. Do try this at home. The position symbolizes balance in life, yoga amateur Salah once explained to the English press.

After his goal against Guinee-Bissau, Salah reacted coolly: a quick swing with a fist through the air, a small high five, but no more than had. He had simply done what he had to do for his country.

Mo Salah always scores, even when his side plays lousy as they did last season. Lots of penalties that’s true, but there are also plenty of lines in the intersection and curves with the left in the far corner, unreachable for the keeper. Salah quickly picks up the ball from the net, because there is often a gap to catch up.

Last year Salah had to do without creative admiration songs from the Liverpool fans: If he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too. In the Spanish newspaper Marca, Salah said at the end of March: ‘I think we are the team that suffers the most from the absence of the fans.’

CHEERFUL

The cheerful Salah is not the man to show his displeasure quickly. He caused the biggest fuss of his career by hiding in the locker room, ostensibly to change shirts, when he should have shaken hands with the Israeli players of Macabi Tel-Aviv.

In the past season, the chagrin sometimes came out openly. With some misses, the Egyptian was shouting his frustration out loudly. And after a substitution in a game against Chelsea, he walked past successful coach Jürgen Klopp at the beginning of March, shaking his head. His agent Ramy Abbas Issa tweeted a dot not long after, sparking speculation. Could the Egyptian be leaving Liverpool soon?

It hasn’t come that far. However, during the weeks of the Africa Cup, Liverpool will have to do without goal machine Salah and Sadio Mane in his wake. In the first league game without its two star strikers, Liverpool struggled against Brentford last week, but did win the game in the end.

‘We wish the boys in Africa the best of luck’ Klopp commented afte the game. ‘We were celebrating when Mo scored last night and Sadio the other day. We wish all of them to win the tournament, which unfortunately is impossible.’

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