How Mo Salah became the new king of football

Salah’s contract at Liverpool is scheduled to expire in the summer of 2023, when he will be a free agent. Salah often said he wanted to stay; However, negotiations with Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (which also owns the Boston Red Sox) over a new contract are deadlocked over Salah’s salary demands – reportedly doubling his current contract, placing him among the highest paid players in football. . (Salah representatives say reports that Salah is currently being paid £ 10.4million a year are inaccurate but otherwise would not comment on the negotiations.) “I want to stay, but it’s not between my hands. It’s in their hands, ”says Salah. “They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff. And besides, sewage treatment plants and ambulances aren’t cheap.

For Salah, it’s more than money. It’s a matter of recognition. “The problem is, when you ask for something and they show you that they can give you something,” he said, they should, “because they appreciate what you’ve done for the club. . I’ve been here since my fifth year now. I know the club very well. I love the fans. The fans love me. But with the administration, they have [been] recounted the situation. It is in their hands.

If Liverpool are unwilling to meet their salary demands – quite possible, given the reluctance of the FSG to pay superstars’ salaries to Liverpool and the Red Sox – few clubs in world football could. Barcelona are notoriously broke. Real Madrid are apparently targeting French striker Kylian Mbappé. There’s Paris Saint-Germain, with their unlimited funding backed by Qatar, but otherwise the only real contenders are the two clubs Manchester or Chelsea, and a move to either of them would set the status of Salah as a Liverpool legend. (I have to admit here that I’ve been a Liverpool fan for 20 years. Yes, I asked him to stay. No, that didn’t help.)

Salah knows his own worth and his next deal could be his last chance to make a lot of money. There is also the “Salah brand” to consider. It has sponsorship deals with Adidas, Oppo, Uber, and Pepsi, each paying generously for its image. (MBC, the Arab TV channel, reportedly paid Salah around £ 480,000 to interview him that day at town hall.)

He is 29 years old now. Conventional wisdom says soccer players peak at around 30, although recent advancements in sports science change that: Zlatan Ibrahimović, for example, still scores for AC Milan at 40. “There isn’t any. than Zlatan, ”says Salah. “[Cristiano] Ronaldo is 36 years old, [Karim] Benzema, 34 years old. All the best players of the moment, [Robert] Lewandowski, Messi, all are 34, 35. ”At home, Salah has built his own recovery room, including a cryotherapy bath and hyperbaric chamber, things you would normally only find in a training center or center. advanced processing. “I have everything at home. It’s a hospital, ”says Salah.

“He’s like a sponge for information. He has a relentless thirst to be better, ”says Klopp. “He’s never satisfied. He is so attentive to what is asked of him for what helps the team. But besides that, his commitment to individual improvement is remarkable. Whether it’s the fitness and conditioning trainers or the nutritionist or whoever, he looks for those little margins everywhere. “

Salah rarely speaks in public and never in politics. You think this is partly self-preservation: Salah’s visibility in Egypt and the Middle East means that anything he says or does in politics is immediately relevant internationally. In the Middle East and online, coverage of him can sometimes come close to moral police: When Salah posted a photo of his family celebrating Christmas on Instagram, it led to a torrent of abuse. But the controversy is a distraction, and so he tried to remove that from his life as well. He doesn’t go out to party and doesn’t play video games often, preferring to stay home with his children instead. “People really change with fame and money, so I’m just trying not to do the same, to stay steady,” he says. This too is deliberate, an investment to ensure that he can reach his maximum potential and stay there as long as possible.

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