Thursday 23 May 2019

Mohamed Salah: It will be Liverpool vs Real Madrid, not me vs Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or

Is it a Ballon d'Or head-to-head?
Is it a Ballon d'Or head-to-head?

Mark Critchley

Mohamed Salah has insisted that this year’s Champions League final will not simply be a contest between himself and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Salah and his Liverpool team-mates will meet Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in Kiev later this month after they edged past Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night, winning their semi-final tie 7-6 on aggregate.

The Egyptian was uncharacteristically quiet on his return to his former club but he will be expected to lead the charge at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium later this month after his sensational campaign in front of goal.

Salah has 43 goals and 15 assists to his name this season and has been touted as a rival to Lionel Messi and Ronaldo for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

The annual award has been received by a Champions League-winning player on nine of the last 13 occasions and even though this year is a World Cup year, triumph in Kiev could tip the balance in Salah’s favour.

Even so, the mild-mannered 25-year-old believes the final will be defined as a battle between two outstanding teams, rather than two outstanding players.

“It is not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo,” he said. “I am playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying to the final came with great team work, that I cannot do it alone.”

Salah is determined not to trouble himself with individual awards either, despite adding the FWA Player of the Year award to his PFA prize earlier this week.

On the Ballon d'Or itself, he said: “I know all of the Arab people wish the best for me, and they are happy every time I win, but now at the moment I am only thinking about the final and to bring the trophy to Anfield.”

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