Mohamed Salah reflects on early memories with national team, FC Basel
The Liverpool winger made his debut for the national team against Sierra Leone in 2011, pulling on the shirt every year since then and six years later he guided the Pharaohs to their first World Cup since 1990.
He also represented Egypt at the 2012 Summer Olympics, helping them to the quarter-finals after scoring three goals in their three group games against Brazil, New Zealand, and Belarus, but unfortunately, they suffered a 3-0 loss to Japan in the quarters and couldn’t get a medal.
“I couldn’t believe it – I was in the national team when I was 19. It was hard to let it sink in because at the time it was usually too early for a player of that age,” Salah told Liverpool’s official website.
“When someone was called into the national team, they’d be 27, 28… but I was 19, so it was like, ‘wow!’ and difficult to understand. But I had to deal with it quickly.
“There was a lot of pressure early, but it was like a dream to play with the national team.
“One of my best memories of those early days with the national team was when I went to the Olympics in 2012. It was a good moment for me, especially because I’d just signed for Basel.
“I went to the tournament and scored a goal in all three group games against Brazil, New Zealand, and Belarus and we got to the quarter-finals. Olympic Games always have the top players involved, so it was a good time for me.
“That actually helped me have a good start with the Basel fans because they could be like, ‘ah, he’s scoring there – that’s good for us!’,” he added.
The former Arab Contractors player then talked about his time at Swiss side FC Basel, where his performances caught the eyes of a number of European giants and introduced him to the world.
He insisted that without Basel he wouldn’t be the player he is now, adding that he has a good relationship with everyone there.
“It was very difficult. That’s what I can say, it’s very difficult to move to a club on another continent, especially at such a young age.
“I went there and lived alone. It was a difficult time because I didn’t know what to do. I was flexible and I told myself, ‘OK, now I have to deal with this situation or it will be even tougher’. So that’s what I did.
“On the pitch, it was a step up for me – most of all in the Champions League. Playing in that tournament was unbelievable and one of the reasons I wanted to join Basel. In my first year there, we didn’t make the group stages because we lost in the qualifying round.
“But we had a really good Europa League run that season, reaching the semi-finals. I personally also did well in the competition; I think I made five or six assists and was one of the leading assist-makers in the competition.
“What I can say is Basel is a fantastic club. Absolutely fantastic. I have a good relationship even now with the president of the club, the ex-president and everyone there. They are still my friends and I love them so much.
“I always look out for their results to see how they’re doing, especially because there is one Egyptian player there who is my friend – Omar Gaber. We are very close and we talk to each other every day.
“Basel is a huge step in my career so far. 100 per cent, without Basel I wouldn’t be the player I am now. 100 per cent.
Full credits go to LiverpoolFC.com for the original interview.
/ 11 hours ago
Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba scored a last-minute winner as Zamalek suffered a defeat at RS Berkane in...
/ 19 hours ago
The 12 fastest players in the Premier League this season have been revealed and...
/ 20 hours ago
Tut, a footballing Pharaoh, has been unveiled as the official Mascot for 2019 AFCON,...