Salah on a revenge mission in the Champions League final

Mohamed Salah could easily have given the kind of diplomatic response that most football players come up with.

He just couldn’t.

Was there a preference, Salah asked minutes after Liverpool reached the Champions League final three weeks ago, which team he faced in the title game in the Paris suburbs?

“Yeah,” Salah said, stretching his neck and turning his head from side to side as if preparing for another game. “I want to play in Madrid.”

Salah clearly hasn’t forgotten what happened in the 2018 final against Real Madrid in Kyiv. That painful moment in the first half when he fought with Sergio Ramos and landed heavily on the ground, dislocating his left shoulder. Some compared it to a wrestling-style maneuver by the crafty Ramos, who appeared to pin Salah’s right arm and roll forward to the turf.

Salah left the pitch in tears and watched the rest of the game on television in the dressing room as Liverpool, deprived of their most likely goalscorer, lost 3-1.

Four years later and Ramos is no longer at Madrid, the Spaniard great has just reached the end of an injury-ravaged debut season at Paris Saint-Germain.

That didn’t stop Salah from posting ‘we have a score to settle’ on Twitter after Madrid joined Liverpool in Saturday’s final in producing that incredible comeback against Manchester City in the semi-finals.

“I think it’s time for revenge,” Salah said in another interview about facing Madrid.

The man is on a mission.

Perhaps in more ways than one.

After all, it’s not impossible that this will be the last final he plays for Liverpool, given that he is yet to sign a new contract with the club. The negotiations are apparently at an impasse. As things stand, Salah still has one year left on his contract and he’s free to talk to other clubs in January.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has sounded optimistic about the whole thing, but he – like the club’s fans – has to worry a bit about a possible parting ways. Money isn’t the issue, according to Salah, who said he doesn’t ask for ‘crazy stuff’ and just wants to be appreciated for all he has done for the club.

Liverpool have moved on to sustaining their attack by signing three forwards in the past two years – Diogo Jota in August 2020, Luis Diaz in January and a long-term in Fabio Carvalho from Fulham this week.

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are still there too – Mane is playing as well as he ever did at Liverpool – but a departure from Salah would be a huge loss for the club, especially when great domestic rivals Man City have strengthened their position. front line with the signature of Erling Haaland.

Salah has just completed a Premier League season as either equal or joint top scorer for the third time in five years at Liverpool, sharing the Golden Boot award with Tottenham striker Son Heung-min with 23 goals. Salah also had the most assists, with 13.

During the first half of this season he was considered by many to be the hottest player in world football having scored 10 goals in his first nine games, including a Manchester United hat-trick and possibly the goal of the season. with this slalom. solo race and finish against City.

Salah hasn’t been this rampant since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in February, with Diaz perhaps taking some of the limelight away, but he remains Liverpool’s most likely match-winner – the man on which Klopp counts for more goals than anyone else.

“Crazy season,” Klopp said of Salah, who has already been awarded England’s Football Writers’ Player of the Year and is also the British bookmakers’ favorite to win the vote among his fellow professionals.

That’s the caliber of player Madrid will face on Saturday, and who the Spanish side may still be keen to buy after losing the signing of Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain. But above all, Salah – as his recent comments on the game indicate – wants to avenge what happened in 2018.

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