Mo Salah was a revelation last season after a move from Basel in the summer of 2017. Yet his performances hardly threatened to outweigh the adulation of Gareth Bale at Spurs, Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, Harry Kane at Tottenham, Eden Hazard at Chelsea and Jamie Vardy at Leicester. Where was the recognition, the ovation, the award?
Amid an increasingly light atmosphere at Wembley on Saturday night, the Reds’ record signing received his first Premier League player of the year award. “I’m extremely happy to get this award,” said Salah. “Thank you to the media for nominating me. I think that’s what the Premier League is about.”
The Egyptian might have drawn some stinging criticism at the start of his career for his exquisite technique rather than his grit, but few players excel in the manner of Salah, and few take the steps at such speed in such a short period of time. It is difficult to recall a footballer in British history who has moved so effortlessly from a role as a wide player or substitute striker to an integral member of the team.
Mo Salah, whose career began in humble surroundings in his native Egypt, not only took the Premier League by storm last season but also his development has served as a shining example to a generation of African players.
“It’s great to win this award,” he said. “I just want to thank all my team-mates and everyone at the club. This has given me a lot of happiness and the best feeling is winning the title.”
The prize deservedly went to Salah, while his club may not have got what they wanted, but the only other man worthy of their congratulations should be Harry Kane. Kane is the picture of refinement, but it is Salah’s speed that might best see him succeed in the game in years to come.
Salah has been at Anfield only one year. Many feared he would burn out during an impact season but in recent weeks Salah has shown the vast variety of talent that was under his wing as part of the Uruguay side that reached the World Cup semi-finals. From spin and trickery to power and conviction, Salah can turn a small circle into a giant — the biggest of all.
After an effortless nomination in the last four, Mo Salah wins the PFA’s Player of the Year award 🔥#COYS pic.twitter.com/dbGCNsoW0m — Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 29, 2018