Mohamed Salah: Finalist in focus

  • Mohamed Salah is a finalist for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award

  • Liverpool forward has been in scintillating form for club and country

  • We look closer at stats, quotes and key moments

“At the end of the day it’s people’s opinions. But in my mind I’m the best player in the world.” So said Mohamed Salah last month and, with every match in which he shines – and invariably scores – the number of people sharing that point of view continues to swell.

Like his fellow finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player, Liverpool’s 'Egyptian King' has succeeded in making the extraordinary seem ordinary. Yet despite maintaining the highest of standards over recent years, Salah has spent the past few months raising the bar yet further.

Ahead of The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2021, we put this fantastic Pharaoh under the microscope.

The reliable Red

Given that the campaigns before had yielded a UEFA Champions League crown and the club’s first top-flight title in 30 years, Liverpool’s trophyless 2020/21 season proved to be something of a letdown. Salah, though, remained the one man on whom the Reds could depend. As well as becoming the first Liverpool player to score 20-plus goals in three Premier League seasons, the Egyptian comfortably emerged as the club’s top scorer in both the top flight and UEFA Champions League, amassing twice as many goals as nearest challenger Sadio Mane (22 to 11 and six to three respectively).

Cementing his Pharaohs legend

While COVID disrupted his involvement with Egypt’s national team, Salah still succeeded in his making his mark. When he returned to the Pharaohs fold in March, with top spot in their CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying section up for grabs, a brilliantly-taken double inspired the team to a 4-0 win that ended the hopes of high-flying Comoros. That brace also took Salah past Hassan El Shazly's tally of 42 goals to become the second-highest scorer in Egypt’s history. With 45 goals now to his name, he only has one player – Hossam Hassan (68) – left to aim for.

From strength to strength

Having achieved all that during the period on which The Best is judged (8 October 2020 to 7 August 2021), Salah has continued to improve in the time since. A remarkable tally of 23 goals in 26 matches has resulted in the Egyptian becoming highest-scoring African in Premier League history and the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush to score 20 or more in all competitions in five successive seasons. He also scored three times in four appearances for his national team as the Pharaohs topped their second-round section in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying with an unbeaten record.

Salah in quotes

“We don’t have to talk about what [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance but, right now, [Salah] is the best. I see him every day. There are people like [Robert] Lewandowski and Ronaldo and Messi and [Kylian] Mbappe, but at this moment for sure he's on top of that list." Jurgen Klopp, Salah’s Liverpool manager

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) after scoring their side's third goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on August 14, 2021

“He's the best player in the world right now, it goes without saying. He's scoring, he's creating, doing everything game in, game out. It's mad. He wants to break every record in the book. He wants to put his name in the history books, and he's doing that. He's done that from the first season he's come in and he hasn't taken his foot off the pedal." Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool team-mate

“He's not world class - he's out-of-this-world class!” Graham Potter, Brighton manager

Salah in Numbers

159

Salah took just 159 appearances to reach 100 Liverpool goals. In the club’s long history, only two players – Roger Hunt (144) and Jack Parkinson (153) – reached the century mark in fewer outings.

113

With 113 Premier League goals, the Egyptian King is the highest-scoring African in the competition’s history. He surpassed Didier Drogba’s previous record of 104 in October.

14

Between August and October, Salah became the first Liverpool player to score in ten successive appearances, emerging with a haul of 14 that included the first Premier League hat-trick by a visiting player at Old Trafford.

Who will be #TheBest?

The winners in all categories will be crowned on 17 January 2022. Who do you think should win this year? Share your views on social media using the hashtag #TheBest.