Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has claimed Mohamed Salah may only see Liverpool as a “stepping stone” for a “big move” to a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona.
The Egyptian has been with the Reds for three years and has shown us no signs that he wants to move anywhere. With Liverpool, Salah has won the Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and is in line for a Premier League medal this season – why would he want to leave?
Neville says that his claim isn’t meant to be a critique, because he’s known players like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy who all moved on to Madrid after Manchester.
“I said 18 months ago I thought Mo Salah would leave Liverpool,” Neville said on Sky Sports (via the Mirror). “I think it’s a little bit more simple in the sense of why Liverpool fans maybe don’t demonstrate that love for Salah, and it’s affinity and loyalty.
“I think there’s a feeling that he wants to go and play at Real Madrid, he’ll go to Barcelona – he’ll take the big move.”
Now he does have a point that Salah is perhaps underappreciated by a minority of our fans – Jamie Carragher made the same claim while analysing the Egyptian on Monday Night Football.
“I played with David Beckham, I played with Ruud van Nistelrooy, I played with Cristiano Ronaldo,” Neville continued. “They wanted to win the Ballon d’Or, they wanted to be at Real Madrid, they wanted to be up in lights and play at the biggest clubs in the world.
“I think there’s a feeling: affinity, loyalty, will he leave us? I think he could. I think he is ultimately using Liverpool potentially as a stepping stone for his career. He has aspirations to be [at a club like Real Madrid or Barca].”
While his comments are cutthroat, I do somewhat agree with Gary in that the two big boys in La Liga are perhaps the most exciting for any footballer, with some of the best players in history having their finest moments there.
But why would that also be the case for Salah? The Egyptian could have grown up always wanting to play in England – the pull of Manchester United and Liverpool can’t be overstated. For all we know, he could be living his dream right now.
Ultimately it’s all speculation, but another reminder that we have to appreciate the superstar players we have at Anfield now, even though we don’t think Salah is going anywhere just yet.