The Egyptian Football Association has said star forward Mohamed Salah is "happy in the camp" amid speculation he is ready to walk away from the national team.
It was reported by Jack Austin of The Independent that the Liverpool man is unhappy at being used as a political tool by the team, with pictures emerging of him alongside Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov before the FIFA World Cup.
However, suggestions Salah is ready to retire from the international game were dismissed by the Egyptian FA, per BBC Sport.
"Reports that Salah wants to leave are completely wrong," it said. "Mo is still with us now and he is happy in the camp. He is eating and laughing with his team-mates. He is training well and that means no problem."
As relayed by Sky News, when Salah and Kadyrov met, the former was given honorary citizenship of Chechnya, where Egypt have been based for the tournament, by the latter.
The Egypt team's Twitter account then posted images of the pair together at a banquet along with some of the other players.
Per sports journalist Karim Zidan, Kadyrov's main focus at the dinner was Salah:
Karim Zidan @ZidanSports
To make it clear, Kadyrov’s only interest in in Salah, not the entire Egyptian team. Being pictured alongside Salah makes him appears to be friends with one of the most popular Muslim athletes in the world. Look at where Salah is seated in comparison to his teammates #WorldCup https://t.co/XPM3q3HhRp
As noted by BBC Sport, Kadyrov has previously been accused of human rights violations, which he denied in an interview with the BBC recently.
Salah's agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, posted the following messages on Twitter on Saturday, seemingly expressing his frustration at the situation:
Per the BBC, it's not the first time Salah and the Egyptian FA haven't seen eye to eye on an issue. He posted "sorry but this is a major insult" on Twitter after they used his image in an advert for telecommunications company WE in April; Salah is sponsored by rival brand Vodafone.
The forward is set to play for Egypt on Monday against Saudi Arabia at the World Cup. The Pharaohs are seeking to secure their first-ever win in the competition, although they've already been eliminated after defeats against Russia and Uruguay.
Salah missed the first game against Uruguay as he was nursing a shoulder injury suffered playing for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid.
The 26-year-old enjoyed an incredible debut season on Merseyside, as he scored 43 goals for the Reds in all competitions.