Written by Staff Writer at CNN
FIFA on Wednesday announced that Egypt striker Mo Salah has won its Puskas Award for goal of the year.
The award honors the player, who scored with the greatest number of goals on a single occasion. As such, it offers a striking insight into Salah’s “world class” talent, according to FIFA, which also highlights how much his opponent had to do to manage to block the strike.
The 25-year-old scored 44 goals in 2017-18, the most of any player in a single season since Brazil’s Ronaldo collected 49 goals in 2003-04.
Although most of his statistics pale in comparison to legends of the game like Pele, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Liverpool forward has already brought Liverpool back into the Premier League title race as they prepare to travel to Manchester City for their first away match in the competition in over 12 years.
Such an incredible tally might make Salah the most popular sportsman on social media but this is just a fraction of what the brilliant footballer can do.
The goals don’t just come from the touchline: he also won the Champions League at the end of last season with Liverpool, put in a man of the match performance in the semi-final against Roma, scored the opening goal of this season’s World Cup against hosts Russia, while also helping the Reds draw against Everton in the FA Cup final last month.
Even his eight-month ban after he was accused of being “part of a criminal syndicate trafficking drugs and sex workers” has been forgotten as the player remains the subject of intense transfer speculation.
He has now scored more goals than Ronaldo in all competitions so far in 2018-19, including against Premier League defenders in Liverpool’s FA Cup final.
Mo Salah with his younger brother Mohamed, from where he hails, in June 2016. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Salah’s World Cup experience on Saturday has also been hailed by fans, with the 25-year-old looking surprisingly like his old self.
Tournament reporter Nick Miller gave the star an excellent analysis of Salah’s performance with BBC Radio 5 Live last weekend.
“What he didn’t say is that Salah is still very slight, but he now looks so much better because he has so much more muscle power in his lower body, while no part of his torso is fat, which makes him more agile and he can almost run parallel to the floor,” he told Miller.
“His frame was much more pliable even last season, and if you look at that shooting tally of 18 goals, many of them come from latches and low, medium and high volume scoring. There’s very little elevation in his body movement.
“But now the shoulder injury has healed, I think Mo is looking a lot more comfortable and they are playing in a deeper, more defensive position in which he was unlucky to become a target man last season, but the goal he scored in the Iran game was just outstanding.”