Mo Salah leads Lionel Messi in Ballon d'Or 2018 voting so far

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Early frontrunner: Mo Salah.

Mohamed Salah is leading the way when it comes to Ballon d’Or online votes so far, via France Football.

The Liverpool and Egypt icon has the lion’s share, the equivalent to 51 per cent, of the 242,000 votes cast by fans on the official website for the award following the announcement of 30 nominees on Monday.

A section of those votes go some way towards the awarding of the covered prize overall in December.

Currently, five-time winner Lionel Messi is in second spot with 30 per cent while no other player has registered more than five per cent.

Journalists make up the vast portion of the votes.

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No Mohamed Salah 'crisis', insists Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

Carl Markham 21/09/2018
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Mohamed Salah

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists there is no crisis surrounding Mohamed Salah’s form and does not expect the Egypt international to repeat his record-breaking goalscoring feats from last season.

The 26-year-old enjoyed a stellar first year at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in total and setting a new Premier League record of 32 goals for a 38-game campaign.

After a shoulder injury in May’s Champions League final, Salah had a disappointing World Cup and on his return to English football does not yet look like the player who terrorised defences, scoring almost at will.

However, his tally of two goals from six matches in all competitions compares to three from half-a-dozen this time last year.

“Wow, that’s a crisis,” said Klopp sarcastically.

“No-one remembers that, it is really no problem.

“On the defensive side the last two games he was outstanding, perfect, and it is so important in these games especially, so that says everything about him: that he is really ready to work for the team in these moments.

“It is a completely normal situation for an offensive player that they have times when they don’t score. But he is still a threat, had fantastic situations in both games and he is in good shape.

“Finishing is something you can never take for granted. I would never do that, the players should never do that – only the supporters are allowed to do that.”

Klopp was asked whether the perception that Salah was not doing well was because many people expected him to repeat last season’s heroics.

“Of course. Of course everyone expects that, that is clear. It is completely normal everyone expects that,” added the Reds boss.

“We don’t expect that. We want him to score as often as possible.

“I am fine with him, I think he is fine with me and the situation. At the end of the season we will see how it was, not at the beginning.

“The start was good for the team and also him as well. It wasn’t like he finished last season but he needed time last year and we will take time this year.”

While last season all the praise was lavished on Liverpool’s front three, so far it has been the midfield which has been winning all the plaudits.

Georginio Wijnaldum has been a revelation interchanging between a holding midfielder role and a more attacking one, while the 32-year-old James Milner’s fan club grows on a daily basis.

Milner was man of the match in Tuesday’s 3-2 Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain, matching his performance in the victory at Tottenham three days earlier.

“What was it last year? Most assists in the Champions League? How can you be surprised when he’s doing similar things?” said Klopp ahead of the visit of Southampton.

“In football it can sound like a massive age, 32, but he’s still young. He’s a proper professional, so his body gives him the opportunity.

“He is now in a position which he loves. He’s very energetic and lively and likes to cover big distances, that helps in midfield, but it helped us also at left-back.

“He can play football, which makes him a pretty valuable player to be honest!”

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Mohamed Salah takes to Facebook as row with Egyptian FA escalates

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Mohamed Salah addressed fans directly on Facebook

A war of words broke out on Monday between Egypt star Mohamed Salah and his country’s football authorities, putting in doubt his continuing involvement with the Pharaohs.

Salah, 26, and the Egyptian Football Association have previously been at loggerheads due to a disagreement over image rights.

Now the conflict has flared up again after the striker and his lawyer accused the FA of failing to respond to a list of requests dealing with the player’s treatment.

Salah’s lawyer Ramy Abbas Issa said the demands involved the player’s “well-being whilst with the national team, and assurances that the image rights violations wouldn’t happen again”.

In an angry rebuttal the football federation said Monday that it would not accept the requests, blasting some as “illogical” and insisting it would not “favour one player over another”.

Salah hit back with a pair of Facebook videos, insisting he was asking for better security for the whole squad at team hotels – after strangers were given access to his room during the World Cup.

“I have never seen anyone go up to the room of any player to sit with him in his room,” Salah said, speaking in Arabic. “This has not happened throughout my long stay in Europe.”

“I do not want privileges, I do not mind being answered and the inability to complete my requests. I just want to be in my room, I do not want to let someone I do not know in my room at any time.”

Salah also complained about flight arrangements for national team matches, which he said were hampering preparations.

“My requests are normal,” he said.

“We have a private jet, which is great, but it must be business class. I spoke with an African player in my team (Liverpool).

“Everyone knows him – without mentioning his name – and assured me that all his trips are in this category.”

“It is impossible to feel comfortable when we sit three players next to each other, especially on long journeys. These are difficult for us.”

The Reds front-man rebuked the FA’s claims he wanted special treatment

“I do not want to be in the business class and the rest of the players in the lower class,” he said. “We are all like each other. All I have demanded is for me and for the national team in general.”

He finished by criticizing the Egyptian FA’s response.

“The federation said everything in the conference and tried to make me out in a way that is hostile to Egypt,” said Salah.

“If I had any mistake, it is possible to reply. Everyone knows how I’m playing and loving with the national team and I do not want anything (different).”

The mounting tension comes ahead of Egypt’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger on September 8.

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