On Sunday night, everybody’s favourite footballer Mohamed “Mo” Salah picked up the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) player of the year for the 2017-18 season. The Liverpool forward has been having a sensational season with the player well on his way to picking up this season’s Golden Boot as well. He has netted 41 goals so far for The Reds and the season isn’t even over yet. However his ability on the field is not the only reason why fans love Mo Salah.
Every since his arrival at Liverpool, Mo Salah has been making an impact and changing the way footballers are seen. And that seemed to culminate in the latest award he has picked. (He has been picking up the awards consistently along with his goal-scoring.) The PFA Award is awarded on the basis of a vote by the fellow players and Salah was up against Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané, David Silva, and Harry Kane. He became the second African player to win the award after Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez and the first Egyptian player to win the award.
Shouldn’t be underestimated what an achievement it is for an African player to win this vote, which can be as much an expression of cultural biases as anything else. For example, neither Yaya Toure nor Didier Drogba ever won it (though Scott Parker did ðŸ¤”) https://t.co/XzfIDB90bv
â€” âš½ï¸ is a Country (@FutbolsaCountry) April 22, 2018
While the night should have been all about Salah and his accomplishments, his actions before the event just showed why the player has become loved by most football fans. He was supposed to head to the ceremony, which took place in London by himself. However, Salah requested that the team be represented at the awards so that he could share the honour with them. Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson accompanied Salah to the awards.
Jordan Henderson attended last night’s PFA Awards at the request of Mohamed Salah, who wanted to have #LFC as a team represented at the event to share the honour with them.
JÃ¼rgen Klopp agreed to the request and as captain, Henderson went down on behalf on the team. pic.twitter.com/ebGpL6Q8e5
â€” James Carroll (@James_Carroll84) April 23, 2018
Even upon winning the award, in an interview with LFCTV, Salah said his personal goals are to win for the team and that he doesn’t’ think of himself. ”The most important thing for me is to win something with the team,” he said.
â€” Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 23, 2018
He has also attributed his sensational form to the team who helped him to play this way.
And that just seems to be a characteristic of the type of person and player that Mo Salah is.
Salah moved to English Premier League side, Liverpool, in June 2017 and quickly made an impact in the side. He has broken the club’s scoring record for a debut season beating Fernando Torres’ record of 33 goals. His total of 41 goals at the moment (the season is still not over) is also the most in a single season beating the total of 36 goals by Robbie Fowler. He has become the first player to win three Premier League Player of the Month awards in the same season. Along with being name PFA Player of the Year, Salah was also named in the 2017-2018 PFA Team of the Year.
Besides evidently being appreciated by his fellow players, Salah has also made a huge impact with Liverpool fans whose Mo Salah chant Good Enough has gone viral around the world. Salah is unapologetic in displaying his Islamic faith, often dropping down into sujood (prostration) to celebrate a goal. This is partly the reason for the Mo Salah chant where fans sing about Salah’s religion and say that if he scores again, they’ll be Muslim too.
While the chant is problematic, it does show what an effect Salah is having on Liverpool fans and European football.
Early this year, Salah helped guide his home country, Egypt to a World Cup final for the first time since 1990, making it an emotional one for all.
Salah is also a real hero off the pitch. Despite making it to the big time, Salah has not forgotten his roots. Hailing from the town of Nagrig in Egypt, Salah is all about giving back. He is helping to fund the construction of a medical centre and a school for girls in his hometown.
Maher Shatiyah, the manager of Mohamed Salah Charity Foundation and mayor of Nagrig said: “Salah is a refined person who, despite his popularity, has never forgotten about his town.”
While it is the nature of the football that players never stay at one club forever, Liverpool fans can only hope that Salah sticks around for quite a while and wins all of the trophies and accolades for the club; for his goal scoring, sunny disposition, and banter with his team mates.