Mohamed Salah deserves Ballon d’Or over Cristiano Ronaldo… he’s captured the imagination of football

MO SALAH is surely heading for a Ballon d’Or shootout with Cristiano Ronaldo.

And if Real Madrid slip up against Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final then they should just hand the crown to Liverpool’s Egyptian King.

Mo Salah was in incredible form as he scored two and made two for Liverpool in their Champions League win over RomaMo Salah was in incredible form as he scored two and made two for Liverpool in their Champions League win over RomaEPA
Salah dinks the ball over Alisson for Liverpool's and his second of the nightSalah dinks the ball over Alisson for Liverpool’s and his second of the nightREUTERS

It would be a fitting climax to the season if the Reds and Real met in Kiev on May 26.

Not least because it would give Salah the chance to go head to head with Ronaldo, the current holder of the award who has won it five times in the 10 years that he and Lionel Messi have made it their own private duel.

The Real Madrid star has scored more goals than Salah in this season’s Champions League, some of them spectacular and some of them absolutely crucial, like that ice-cool stoppage-time penalty against Juventus in the quarter final second leg.

But not even Ronaldo has ever scored two and made two in a Champions League semi-final as Salah (and then Roberto Firmino) did last night.

 

Salah is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring in the huge Champions League tieSalah is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring in the huge Champions League tieREUTERS
Jurgen Klopp pumps his arms in celebration as Liverpool smash five past Roma at AnfieldJurgen Klopp pumps his arms in celebration as Liverpool smash five past Roma at AnfieldAP:Associated Press

In fact, no-one had ever done it before.

The Liverpool forward is now top of the charts for goals scored across all competitions this season, his 43 putting him one ahead of Ronaldo ahead of Real’s clash with Bayern tonight.

DAVE KIDD As for Mo Salah, no Egyptian has screwed the Romans quite like this since Clopatra was in her pomp

That said, the award is, or should be, about more than stats.

And Salah has captured the imagination of the football world.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in brilliant form for Real Madrid in recent monthsCristiano Ronaldo has been in brilliant form for Real Madrid in recent monthsAP:Associated Press
Ronaldo scored one of the great all-time Champions League goals against JuventusRonaldo scored one of the great all-time Champions League goals against JuventusEPA
Ronaldo tore off his shirt to celebrate scoring against Juventus in the previous roundRonaldo tore off his shirt to celebrate scoring against Juventus in the previous roundAFP OR LICENSORS

 

Ronaldo is continuing to do what he has always done and so his achievements, a little unfairly, have slightly less impact these days.

Salah has inspired another of the sport’s grand old clubs to relive its sparkling history with a level of performance which has surprised as much as it has delighted.

When it has mattered, such as in both legs of the quarter final against Manchester City and last night against Roma, he has produced moments of sublime skill and composure to make the difference.

Salah’s smile, and the songs and wigs that celebrate him, have lit up the season.

A Champions League final would be a fitting stage for him to state his credentials to break the Ronaldo and Messi domination of the Ballon d’Or since 2008.

And watching Ronaldo busting a finely-chiselled gut to stop Salah succeeding him, in the showpiece occasion of the club season, would be a treat.

 

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