Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1400, (5 - 11 July 2018)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1400, (5 - 11 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Salah’s new deal

After being misjudged, attacked and feeling desperate during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Mohamed Salah returns to Liverpool, reports Abeer Anwar

 

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has signed a new five-year contract with the club doubling his wage to £ 200.000 a week.

Egypt’s early farewell to the 2018 World Cup in Russia was a backbreaker for Salah who, before the embarrassing exit, had to endure a sponsorship rights battle with the Egyptian Association, a shoulder injury in the final of the Champions League, and a controversial meeting with the president of Chechnya. Salah was criticised for attending a dinner banquet held by Chechnya President Ramzan Kodyrov. As the superstar of the team, Salah was seated to the right of the head of the state. The player, feeling uncomfortable, was taken aback when Kodyrov, accused by the international community of being anti-human rights, decorated him with an ‘honorary citizen’ of the State of Chechnya. Although taken by surprise and bewildered, Salah accepted the decoration grudgingly. But the world didn’t take it easily. The international media pounced on Salah.

Salah’s deal with Adidas, the second player to follow Lionel Messi in their ads, was postponed after the Chechnya fuss. The race between Adidas and Nike to be the most noticeable brand at the World Cup was on after Adidas began their usual war with Nike by releasing a star-studded advert including the biggest names in the sport.

The German sportswear giant took advantage of their myriad sponsorship deals with football stars by inviting Barcelona’s Messi to appear alongside Salah, Paul Pogba, Luis Suarez and David Beckham to name but a few.  

After returning to Egypt to spend some relaxation time with his family, Salah felt the warmth and love of his countrymen, although not the way he expected when his address in the Fifth Settlement was leaked on Facebook. Hundreds of fans gathered at the door of his house waiting for him to come out and sign their t-shirts and autographs.

Even when he decided to flee to Lebanon for a short vacation before resuming his career, his fans gathered at Cairo Airport to greet Salah before he set off with his wife.

Egypt lost all three of its matches in the World Cup against Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Salah missed the opening match with Uruguay because of his shoulder injury. He scored two goals in the matches against Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Salah joined the Reds for £34m from Roma last summer and was the top scorer in the Premier League last season, netting 32 goals - the most by a player in a 38-game campaign - to win the Golden Boot. His performances also helped him win last season’s Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award and Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year.

His new deal, which runs until 2023, does not contain a release clause.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the press after the deal, “It demonstrates two things very clearly - his belief in Liverpool and our belief in him. This news can be seen for what it is; rewarding a person who performed and contributed greatly for the team and the club last season.

“We want world-class talent to see they have a home at Anfield where they can fulfil all their professional dreams and ambitions - we are working hard together to achieve this. When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think.

“Equally, our commitment to him says we see his value and want him to grow even more and get even better within our environment.”

Liverpool finished fourth in the league last season and lost the Champions League final 3-1 to Real Madrid.

Liverpool’s players returned to pre-season training on Monday but Salah, other players involved at the World Cup and The Netherlands duo Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum were not among them.

Commenting on the new deal, Salah said, “I’m very happy to say I have signed a new contract with the club.

“My first year at the club was an incredible experience for me and my family. I have to thank everyone at Liverpool and also the supporters. I know we can achieve a lot of things together.”

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