Egyptian history is full of stories about legends, leaders, Pharaohs, and in recent years a new king has been crowned.
Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah has played a starring role in his side’s quest for silverware since signing from Roma in 2017 and his performances have made him into a national treasure in his homeland. On the international scene Salah’s late penalty against Congo in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers helped Egypt reach the tournament finals for the first time in nearly 30 years, propelling him to God-like status.
A new book, ‘Salah… Hero’s story’by journalist Emad Anwar presents the Egyptian King as a great example of determination for today’s youth as well as targeting older readers who consider Salah as a symbol of hope after what he has achieved in his career.
The book begins with a young Salah overcoming tough circumstances that faced him growing up in a poor Egyptian village. Born 15th June 1992, he started his football career on the Negreeg streets playing with his neighbors in for two years, before he started playing for Negreeg’s and Basioun’s young centers, promising his mother his football wouldn’t affect his school grades. As he grew and his talent began to develop he participated in Pepsi’s league in 2004, which produced many current Egypt’s national team stars including Arsenal’s Mohamed Naser Elsayed Elneny. Soon after, Salah met a scout, Reda Al Mallah, who asked him to join Othamson Tanta Club, followed soon after with a move to Cairo Arab Contractors FC. Salah suffered in Cairo, he was travelling five days every week from his village to play football, which made his mother always worry about her son. The striker joined up with the first team at 2010, when he was 18 years old and scored his first goal for the club against Al-Ahly in December 2011, back when he was wearing the number 31 shirt.
The author tells the story of some dazzling performances in the Egyptian league, and games in front of FC Basel officials who watched Salah while he was representing Egypt’s youth team in 2011. A short trial later they signed him on a four-year contract with the club, making him their first-ever Egyptian player. The striker opted for the number 22 shirt as worn by his idol Mohamed Aboutrika.
Salah played 79 games for FC Basel, scoring 20 goals, which alerted Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who sent a text message in a bid to personally reach the Egyptian. Salah also had an offer from Liverpool, but he chose to move to Stamford Bridge becoming the most expensive Arabic player ever in the process. The Egyptian King failed to make an impact at Chelsea and was sent out on loan to Italian side Fiorentina in 2015. The Egyptian fans supported Salah during this period for two reasons. Firstly, they thought he wasn’t treated fairly by Mourinho and secondly Salah chose to wear the number 74 shirt at Fiorentina to honor victims of the Port-Said stadium riot in 2012.
The book recounts how Salah started to learn Italian with his best friend at AS Roma Francesco Totti, where after just one season loan, the Italians signed Salah on a permanent deal for 15M Euros. He scored 34 goals, in two seasons before Liverpool came knocking.
Off the field, the book delves into Salah’s personal life, speaking about his marriage his wife Magi, who he met during their school days. They tied the knot in Nagrig, Egypt on December 17th, 2013.The author also speaks of Salah’s charity and humanitarian work which has earned him the title as the, “Man with a golden heart.” Football stars Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Frank Lampard, Zinedine Zidane, John Terry, Thierry Henry and Luis Figo also share their thoughts on Salah.
Sport360 has teamed with Storytel to offer readers a free copy of ‘Salah… Hero’s Story’. Sport360 Readers can also listen to any other books on the Storytel platform for free for 30 days. To get your copy visit https://storytelarabia.com/ar/sport360 for Arabic and https://storytelarabia.com/en/sport360 for English.
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