The last ten Ballon d’Or awards have been won by either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Now a player who didn’t even get short-listed in 2017 has a chance of winning this year. Liverpool’s Mo Salah has just finished an incredible season and he could well break the domination of Messi and Ronaldo in 2018.
Mo Salah has had a meteoric rise to fame in the past year. His career had seemed to be taking off in 2013 when he signed for Chelsea, but he only played 19 games for them, scoring just twice. The Egyptian was sent out on loan, first to Fiorentina and then he spent a season on loan at AS Roma before being permanently transferred there in 2016. He started to show signs of just how good he could be with 29 goals in 60 Serie A games and that led to his transfer to Liverpool last summer.
An Amazing Liverpool Debut Season
Many Liverpool fans were wondering why the club were spending €42m on a player who had failed to make an impact with Chelsea. No one could have anticipated the record-breaking season that was to follow for the first Egyptian to ever play for the club.
Right from the start of the 2017/18 season Salah hit the ground running and scored on his Premier League debut for the club during a frustrating draw at Watford. Further goals came against Hoffenheim and Arsenal and the Liverpool fans had found a new hero as he was voted our Player of the Month for August.
Record Breaking Achievements
The goals just kept coming for Salah and it took him just 26 games to reach the 20-goal mark – the second fastest ever in Liverpool’s history to achieve that feat. His first hat-trick for Liverpool came in the 5-0 win over Watford in March of this year and by that time he’d scored 36 goals in his debut season for the club and he was the leading goalscorer in Europe’s top five leagues.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard said of Salah, “we are witnessing the start of greatness.” Plenty were agreeing with him and the Egyptian won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award. No wonder he’s only 7/4 second favourite with 888sport to break the stranglehold that Messi and Ronaldo have and win the Ballon d’Or.
More records were being broken as he became the first African player to reach ten goals in a Champions League season. His two goals in the first leg semi-final win over his former club Roma, took him to 43 goals for the season and he’d already scored more goals in a Premier League season than any other Liverpool player. Not content with that he went on to end the season with a record 32 Premier League goals as he won the Golden Boot. Sadly, he was injured during the Champions League final against Real Madrid, but he ended an incredible season with 44 goals in 52 games for Liverpool.
World Cup Glory
It’s not just in the Premier and Champions League that Mo Salah has had tremendous success. He also scored five of Egypt’s eight goals that took them to the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990. He is expected to be fit for the tournament and if he can make an impact in Russia, his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or 2018 will be even higher than before.