Mohamed Salah will come face-to-face with another leading contender for the award Karim Benzema when Liverpool plays Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28. He said: “If you ask everybody [at Liverpool], everyone wanted that game. I don’t know why we’re not allowed to talk about it but I’m ok to talk about it – I wanted that game! I wanted to play Real Madrid before that game.”
Mohamed Salah is eager to win a first Ballon d’Or and believes success in the Premier League and Champions League can only enhance his chances.
Salah has scored 30 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions this season and hopes that domestic and continental glory will be enough to claim the most prized individual award in world football.
But the Egyptian faces stiff competition from Karim Benzema, who has found the net 43 times in 43 appearances and is looking to win a fifth Champions League title after already claiming a fourth La Liga title this season.
“I lost last time because I scored 40 goals but we didn’t win any trophies,” said Salah in quotes published by Sky Sports.
“This time, my number is high and we’ve already won one cup. If we win the next two, it’s going to be exciting who is going to win it.
“In the meantime, we have to focus on the main thing which is the trophy for the team, then the rest will follow.
“This is my best season for me at Liverpool. The goal and assist numbers are high and the way I created chances, the highest number in the Premier League, everything around the game has changed a lot.”
Salah will be eager to erase the unhappy memories from his last Champions League final appearance against Real Madrid in 2018 after being forced off the pitch with a shoulder injury.
“You just feel so disappointed, so down,” Salah recalled after that loss. “‘Ah come on, not in this game!’ But once you have time, it makes you forget.
“I had work affairs and then I had a holiday after. On that holiday I just asked – what do you want? To keep crying about it and be sad about it and it takes you down? Or you just fight back. And I fought back in the best way and that’s why we’re here now.
“We had a meeting after and the manager talked to us in pre-season. We were so hungry to win the Champions League the year after and in the Premier League we were very close as well. I think it had some benefits also, not everything was good losing that final but we had benefits.”
Revenge is definitely on the agenda for the Reds on May 28, and Salah made no secret of who he would’ve preferred to face in the final before the outcome of the semi-final tie between Manchester City and Real. Now, he has his wish.
“If you ask everybody [at Liverpool], everyone wanted that game. I don’t know why we’re not allowed to talk about it but I’m ok to talk about it – I wanted that game! I wanted to play Real Madrid before that game [against Manchester City].
“Of course, I’m not giving too much credit to them. They’re an unbelievable team with a great coach and great players. When they asked me who I wanted, I said Madrid. It’s an easy answer.”
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