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Mohamed Salah: Mourinho’s call the reason I joined Chelsea
Days after Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Arsenal, Mohamed Salah sat down with beIN Sports in an interview discussing everything from Jose Mourinho’s phone call which lured him away from Liverpool, to life in London and his relationship with his new team-mates.
To begin the interview, Salah addressed how his transfer to Liverpool broke down before moving to Chelsea, saying FC Basel ‘laughed’ when they received Liverpool’s original offer.
He then brought up his first contact with Jose Mourinho: “Mr. Jose Mourinho’s call ended it all. When he called me, he explained the situation and told me that he needed me; which was one of the reasons I decided to pick Chelsea. I waited over three months [with Liverpool].”
When asked about the details of his call with Mourinho before signing for Chelsea, Salah responded: “It was a long conversion. He told me I was a player he needed, and a player that will have an important role.”
Salah added: “He also told me that Chelsea’s style of play will suit me, and… that’s enough [smiling].”
Life At Chelsea
Asked about his first time at Chelsea training ground, Salah said: “It’s just a little surprising, and its not easy for anyone. I tried my best to adapt, and to start thinking as a Chelsea player, and it was clear in the previous match [against Arsenal], that everything was going ok. Thanks to God, and I hope to always be successful.”
Speaking of his first meeting with the players, Salah expressed his joy with the nature of his welcome at the club: “I was very pleased with the reception, and the respect from the players and the coaches. I think I was very happy to be here. The players I have the best relationships with are David Luiz, Demba Ba and Eden Hazard.”
Salah also commented on the lifestyle shift from Basel, Switzerland to London, England. “It’s not so different than Switzerland, they’re both in Europe. However, there are more Arabs in London. Its easy to get anything you need, Halal restaurants, mosques, etc.”
Mourinho has already spoken very fondly about Salah, and the two seem to share a special bond. When asked about his ‘special’ relationship with Mourinho, he responded, “While I was warming up, Mourinho called me, and told me to play with confidence, and to clear my mind, and that I was under no pressure.”
“He also told me that I would do everything they expect of me, and that I would score a goal. Thanks to God, I was successful, I played well and I scored a goal.”
Was this reason behind Mourinho’s happiness after the goal? “Yes, he thinks this goal is very important for me, and I also think so. I was honestly under a lot of pressure at the time.”
Do Mourinho’s positive statements about you give you confidence? “Of course. However, I won’t wait till next season, I will do my best to benefit the team, because we’re playing to finish on top of the league. I hope I could benefit the team.”
Asked if he benefits from training with experienced players like John Terry and Samuel Eto’o, he replied: “Of course, I try to gain experience from the players, I watch the players closely, to see their reactions in certain situations. These players have been playing for almost 20 years, if I don’t benefit from their experience now, when will I? I must concentrate as much as possible, so that he could benefit as much as possible.”
Egypt National Team World Cup Failure
When asked about the reasons the Egyptian National team couldn’t qualify to the World Cup, he responded: “Well, there are a lot of reasons, I don’t want to blame a certain reason. But the Egyptian League was stopped for two years.”
“And the friendly matches Bob Bradley requested to be played, weren’t [scheduled]. I knew this very well, as I was very close to him [Bradley], and he used to speak with me about everything.
“I hope that the next period will be better for us, and I don’t want to speak about the past,” he added.
Concerning the other circumstances in the country, he said: “These circumstances remain, the league keeps being stopped. I hope everything gets back to normal, and better, because I think sports improves the countries reputation. I don’t like to speak about politics, but I believe sports is very important to the people, and may God bless them.”
When he was asked if he will be watching the World Cup, his response was: “Of course, but I won’t tell you who I’ll be supporting,” he said smiling. “I’ll only reveal it straight before the World Cup.”
“I think Spain and Brazil will have a very big chance to make it to the final, but this is only my personal opinion. But of course, I hope African teams could make it.”
Salah was also asked about previous Arabic and Egyptian players who failed in the Premier League: “All players are respected, I don’t like to criticize any player. I’ll just keep concentrating, and hopefully God will help me.”
“The things any Arabic player needs the most to play in Europe is to have ambition, determination and to have a goal.
“My advice to young players is that if you have a dream, hold on to it, and do your best to achieve it,” he said.
The reporter then exchanged short and random questions with Salah.
Who’s you’re best friend in the football world?
“Manga, Shehab and Abou-Treika.”
Best players in the world?
“No one could decide, its always Messi and Ronaldo, and in my opinion, if Hazard scores a lot of goals, he’ll be with them,” said Salah.
“The worst thing that could face a footballer is that when he feels everything is against him, the coach, luck,” he added.
Best fans he’s played in front of ?
“I used to be very happy when I played in front of Basel fans when we played against Chelsea and Tottenham.”
“My favourite personal goal, was my goal against Ittihad of Alexandria in the Egyptian League.”
“A friend and I back home were really close, and we still are, he used to always tell me I would become a good player, and an important one,” Salah said.
“We always imagined I’d play at Egypt’s biggest clubs, but thanks to God, I play at one of the best clubs in the world.”
A player you’d be afraid to play against?
“I wish I could play against anyone.”
“6-1 vs Ghana, was the hardest moment in my career.”
Best decision in your career?
“The best decision I ever took, was to move to Basel.”
What would you like to say to your fans?
“I’d like to tell them that I am very happy people are concerned, and that there are many followers. I was honestly surprised by it, especially after the goal [against Arsenal].”
“I hope people will always support me, and I wish that they would help even if I am not playing so well one day,” he concluded.