DOMINIC KING: Mo Salah has scored an own goal by flirting with Real Madrid just EIGHT DAYS before Liverpool face them in the Champions League… The Reds have no intention of selling him and it will NOT help him in contract talks
Mohamed Salah had faced 18 questions without saying very much before numbers 19 and 20 arrived. He would have known as soon as he heard them that his answers would have implications.
‘You have played football in England and Italy — are you keen to try out Spanish football?’ Liverpool’s leading scorer was asked by Marca, the daily Spanish sports newspaper. A similar inquiry had been put to Salah by their rivals, AS, in December.
‘I hope to be able to play for many more years.’ Salah replied. ‘Why not? No one knows what’s going to happen in the future, so… maybe one day, yes.’
Mohamed Salah (left) has once again refused to rule out a move away from Liverpool
This came hot on the heels of Salah saying ‘I prefer not to talk about it now’ when asked if it was time for him to move on.
His interview with Marca, where he flirted with a move to Real Madrid, is a major own goal – at a time when Liverpool need tranquillity, he should have said nothing
If Salah, 28, hopes ambiguous answers of this nature will result in him joining Real Madrid or Barcelona any time soon, his plan is flawed. Neither have the kind of money to even convince Liverpool to come to the table.
Liverpool, it should be noted, have no intention of selling a man who, since his £36.9million arrival from Roma in 2017, has become the club’s greatest striker in the Premier League era. He has outstripped Luis Suarez, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres to become Anfield’s king.
The club were relaxed about this latest interview, as they were when he spoke before Christmas and, again, when he gave some comments to a Norwegian TV station in January.
Salah, if he cannot move, will want a new contract. His deal runs until 2023 but Liverpool are in no hurry to start negotiations. They have adopted a universal approach to the squad as a whole following the impact of the pandemic.
What grates about this interview is the timing — and the choice of publication.
He has guaranteed there will be a sideshow around every Jurgen Klopp press conference
Marca, of course, have a history publicising Real Madrid’s most wanted and it is something of a coup for them to get Salah to speak eight days before the clubs square up in the Champions League.
By one day saying he hopes to play in Spain, he has guaranteed there will be a sideshow around every Jurgen Klopp press conference before then and added scrutiny on how the Egyptian performs.
At a time when Liverpool need tranquillity, he should have said nothing.
Though the majority of Salah’s answers were vanilla — ‘I thought it would be good if we get to the semi-finals’ and ‘both teams are prepared; it’s a special competition’ were two particular gems — he has allowed doubt to be cast on his future.
For a man who has been so proficient at scoring that he has commanded total adulation, this was an own goal.