Why Mohamed Salah Shouldn’t Yet Be Mentioned In The Same Conversation As The Very Best

Mo Salah
Mo Salah

It has been a special start to the season for Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool teammates, as they have defied expectations that they aren’t in the Premier League title race. The Egyptian’s form both domestically and on the continent in the Champions League has been stunning at this early stage, which has led to some, including his club manager Jurgen Klopp, admitting that he is the best player on the planet at present.

His performances have seen his odds to win the illustrious Ballon d’Or dip, but it’s far too early to be putting Salah’s name up there with the best performing players over the past 12 months.

Alex Dudly
Alex Dudley

published 19:33, 11 November 2021

Salah’s Phenomenal Start To The Season

There is little doubt that if the Ballon d’Or was awarded for the performances of players over the first four months of the new season, then Salah’s name would be in the conversation. The Egyptian has already scored ten goals in ten games in the Premier League this term, and has started the Champions League in excellent fashion for Liverpool, scoring 15 goals in 14 games to easily see the Reds through after being drawn in a testing looking group.

He is also adding further strings to his bow, as his assists are also looking as though they will reach double figures this season. Salah has already recorded seven assists in the Premier League, which is the joint-most alongside Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. He is averaging an 8.18 rating with WhoScored in the Premier League this season, which only highlights the consistency that he has found in his game this season. Salah also attempts four shots per game, and averages 2.4 key passes to his teammates.

Last Season Likely Rules Him Out Of Ballon d’Or Contention

Salah’s numbers last season were very impressive, even more so when you consider the troubles that Liverpool had throughout the season. Those that argue that he should be in Ballon d’Or contention would argue that were it not for the Egyptian, then last season’s Champions League push wouldn’t have been possible. In truth, it’s hard to argue with that stance, as he did score 22 goals and record five assists in 37 league games. However, when it comes to handing out the most prestigious individual award, team performances are also taken into consideration.

Lionel Messi remains among the leading contenders despite a struggling season for Barcelona, but his performances in the Champions League pulled through the club to a stage of the competition that wouldn’t have been possible. Cristiano Ronaldo has done the same on numerous occasions over the last two years for Juventus and Manchester United. Salah hasn’t yet reached that level of the game when he wins fixtures singlehandedly, as he wasn’t able to steer Liverpool past a tired-looking Real Madrid side in the quarterfinals of the competition last season.

What Will Go Against Salah In The Race For The Ballon d’Or?

A number of factors are taken into consideration when the lucrative individual award is handed out every season. Personal performance is obviously a big point, but the part that a player has played in a successful team is one of the more critical. You only need to examine that Jorginho is among the front-runners to win the award as evidence of this, as very few could argue that he is a better player than Salah. However, Jorginho’s trophy cabinet over the last season would beg to differ. The Italian was an important part of the Chelsea team that won the Champions League, and his performance levels remained high as Italy won EURO 2020.

International success is also a huge factor when it comes to Ballon d’Or years when national teams have been in competition. Unfortunately for Salah, this also goes against him, as the re-arranged Africa Cup of Nations takes place in January, after the winner of the Ballon d’Or has been named. Messi has already won the Copa America with Argentina over the summer, while a number of Italian players will also feature heavily when the top names are announced.

Is Salah The Best Outside Of Ronaldo & Messi

It almost seems unfair to compare Salah with Ronaldo and Messi, as the latter two are among the greatest players to have played the game. It would be like comparing mortals to superheroes, it would be impossible to make a case for Salah ever being on their level. However, the Egyptian has proven since his return to the Premier League with Liverpool that he should be mentioned in the conversation after these two.

In that bracket of players, you will also find Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar. The case is certainly strong that Salah is the best in that division of players, as he is testing himself week-in-week-out against the very best on a weekly basis. However, Lewandowski is the one goalscorer that consistently outscores Salah every season.

The Pole is the front-runner to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and his case is very strong. He broke a 50-year Bundesliga record last season after scoring 41 goals in 29 games. Lewandowski also scored 48 goals in all competitions last season, which was the second-highest of his career. His highest tally came when netting 55 in 47 in 2019-20, as he led Bayern to a treble. Many believed that he was robbed of the Ballon d’Or that season, as the ceremony was called off due to COVID, and this year’s award ceremony could make amends for that.

Salah On Verge Of Greatness

While Salah isn’t yet the best player on the planet, if he maintains the standard that he has set over the early weeks of the season, very few would be able to argue against the statement. The Egyptian looks to be on course to break his own Premier League record for goals, and may also be eyeing the assist record at the same time. If Liverpool end the season with either the Champions League or Premier League, and Salah wins the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, then the Ballon d’Or for 2022 could be handed out before the votes are even counted.

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