Mohamed Salah 'One of the Best 3 Players in the World,' Says Egypt Captain

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah kicks the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on June 25, 2018. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
NICOLAS ASFOURI/Getty Images

Egypt captain Ahmed Elmohamady has said it is a "huge deal" to have "one of the best three players in the world" in Mohamed Salah in their side for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

AFCON 2019 kicks off on Friday when hosts Egypt play Zimbabwe at the Cairo International Stadium.

Egypt are among the favourites, not least due to the presence of Salah, who enjoyed another superb season in 2018-19 as Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League and posted a club-record points tally while coming second to Manchester City in the Premier League:

Unlike at the 2018 FIFA World Cup last summer, Salah is fully fit for the tournament, and Elmohamady believes he deserves to be ranked among the best players in the world, presumably alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, per Dejan Kalinic of Goal:

"Salah is now one of the best three players in the world. This is a huge deal for the country and the Egyptian team. Salah being on any team will help it and be a great addition. Everybody anticipates his performance, so this is a positive thing and a good addition for the Egyptian team. 

"As has been said, Salah is one of the 23 players on the list. Each player will help the others. We play as one team, but having Salah with us is a positive thing and an important thing for us as a team and as players."

After Salah's record-breaking season in 2017-18, when he scored 32 league goals in his debut campaign at Anfield, he was widely expected to star at the World Cup and propel Egypt into the knockout rounds from a relatively easy group that included Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

However, he then picked up an injury as Liverpool lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid:

He returned to fitness in time to appear in two of Egypt's three group-stage games, but despite scoring twice, he was a long way off his best and was clearly not at 100 per cent.

The Pharaohs finished bottom of Group A at Russia 2018 after losing all three of their matches, a record matched by only Panama in the whole tournament. 

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For AFCON 2019, Egypt look in much better shape.

They won both of their warm-up matches earlier this month against Tanzania and Guinea.

Meanwhile, Salah scored and played 90 minutes in his last club match of the season as Liverpool became European champions for the sixth time by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. 

After their opener against Zimbabwe on Friday, Egypt face further Group A fixtures against DR Congo (June 26) and Uganda (June 30). The final of AFCON 2019 will be played in Cairo on July 19. 

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