Mohamed Salah: Liverpool star’s former manager was left puzzled if he had bought his twin instead after their initial training session.
Mohamed Salah is now one of the most popular footballers in the world. He is celebrated at the Anfield and is one of Jurgen Klopp’s crown jewels. However, the Egyptian was not always the Europe conquering champion he is now. Salah is now a widely acclaimed footballer at Liverpool but success did not find the ‘Gentle Killer’ overnight. It was the result of a process that begun at Basel, Switzerland.
The Egyptian moved to the Swiss Giants back in 2012 and the coaches were left regretting their decision. The forward failed to impress in his first showing and Heiko Vogel began second guessing the arrival of the nimble footed winger. Salah’s former manager even began to wonder if he had a twin brother that they had accidentally signed instead.
Momo is a gentle killer
In an interview with Goal and SPOX, Vogel opened up on his first interaction with Mohamed Salah.
“If you knew him, he is not a world star, he has such a gentle character. “It was always clear to me that he is an outstanding player, but whether he had the mentality? I didn’t know that exactly. Momo is a gentle killer.”
Vogel revealed the first bit of advice he handed out to Salah.
“Gegge (Heitz) and I told him: ‘Listen, just train as you like – we’ve already made our decision anyway’. “Then he trained on the first day; everyone watched the session and we wondered if he might have a twin brother!
“The second day was a bit better, but not good. Gegge and I had already been talking him up for the tiniest things, saying stuff like: ‘did you see that pass?’.”
By the third day, however, Salah left Vogel and Heitz in no doubt about the quality of player they had signed from Egypt.
“And then came the third day,” Vogel continued. “It was then that he destroyed everything. He was really unstoppable.
“[The first two days] he wasn’t nervous. He was confident, but immersed in a new world. He had to acclimate himself in the truest sense of the word. He came to us from hot north Africa.
“It’s always difficult when you get into an environment where you do not really understand the language.
“[But] I have rarely seen such a dominant appearance in two-on-five [on that third day]. It was absolutely extraordinary.
“He was so agile, so explosive. If he had the ball on his left foot, it was a goal. But Momo always had an eye for his team-mates as well.
“After that performance everyone knew why we wanted to sign him.”
Mohamed Salah has since gone to do wonders with Liverpool. He has led them to back to back Champions League finals and have gone on to win one. They missed out on the Premier League last season by a solitary point and will hope to better themselves this time around. Salah also has two back to back PL Golden Boots to his name with a PFA player of the year award to top it all.
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