Salah wanted Real Madrid in the final and now he’s thirsty for revenge

Salah wanted Real Madrid in the final and now he’s thirsty for revenge

Mohamed Salah, 29, has scored 34 goals in 58 games this season for Liverpool. He was included in the list of the six finalists for the best in the Premier League, voted on by the players themselves. He finished as the tournament’s top scorer alongside Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min (23). He won the FA Cup and the League Cup.

In individual statistics, there was no better period than 2017-2018. That’s when he scored 44 times and was possibly the best player in the world. He reached the Champions League final that year as the biggest star in a match that had Cristiano Ronaldo in the opposing team.

It should be the consecration of the Egyptian. Everything went wrong.

He left the field after 30 minutes, crying. He was injured after being fouled by defender Sergio Ramos. The rival was the same Real Madrid with whom he decides again for the European title this Saturday (28), in Paris.

Four years ago, the Spaniards won 3-1. Salah’s departure was credited as one of the crucial factors in the result. But the biggest culprit was the German goalkeeper Loris Karius, who failed miserably on two goals.

The attacker never made a point of hiding his desire for revenge. Minutes after Liverpool qualified for this year’s final, after passing through Villarreal, Salah made his choice about the favorite opponent to face in Paris, between Real Madrid and Manchester City, who would still face each other: he wanted the Spaniards. It was a statement that surprised even her co-stars.

“It was the worst moment of my career. I was really bad. I had a good season, but playing in the Champions League final and leaving after 30 minutes is the worst thing that can happen to any player. I found out about the result at the hospital. I thought: we can’t lose the game like that. I’ve never felt that before in football, especially since it was the first Champions League decision for most of us,” he said of the 2018 defeat.

A result that would have marked the career of that team led by Jurgen Klopp if they had not been champions in 2019 by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0.

At the beginning of that season, two months after the trauma against Real, the players got together and said that the motivation would have to be the same to go in search of all titles. Mainly European.

Salah choosing an opponent and not hiding his spirit of revenge did not go down well among this Saturday’s opponents. The midfielder Federico Valverde considered that Salah is underestimating Real Madrid. Coach Carlo Ancelotti, with irony, said that if the Egyptian wanted a rematch, the same was true for the Spanish club that had lost to Liverpool in Paris in the 1981 final.

“I’m very motivated. After what happened with Madrid last time and what happened on Sunday. Everyone is motivated to win the Champions League. It’s an unbelievable trophy for us and every season we’ve been fighting for it since I got here.” , added Salah.

By “it happened on Sunday” he meant the loss of the Premier League. Liverpool needed to beat Wolverhampton. But he also needed Manchester City not to defeat Aston Villa. Despite being down 2-0 during the second half, Pep Guardiola’s team went 3-2 and won.

The continental title would have more meaning for Salah. It would be a kind of compensation for the sadness of not going to the World Cup. In the playoffs of the African qualifiers, Egypt was eliminated by Senegal, led by fellow Liverpool striker Saido Mané.

“I was really disappointed after what happened with the national team. So I went back to England and the next day I went to train. I didn’t want to think about it, I just wanted to play. I just thought: we have four trophies to win. Let’s go after them. better. On Sunday we got close, but we had no luck”, he adds.

The dream scenario for him is not just to beat Real Madrid, but to be the protagonist of the title. No wonder, it was remembered that in the 1981 decision Liverpool had an unlikely highlight. The title goal was scored by left-back Alan Kennedy. Upon hearing the question of who he thought he would be the hero in 2022, he replied:

“I hope it’s me.”

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