Egypt coach makes Ronaldo & Messi comparison with Mohamed Salah

Egypt national team coach Rui Vitoria has spoken of the importance of Mohamed Salah to his team.

The 31-year-old forward has been in fine form for Liverpool so far in 2023/24, scoring five times and registering four assists in just eight games.

No Premier League player has more goal contributions than Salah this season and Liverpool's number 11 remains integral to Jurgen Klopp's plans despite recent speculation about interest from Saudi Arabia.

Salah is, of course, just as important to his country and has 51 goals and 29 assists in 91 caps for Egypt's senior side. He also played a crucial role in taking the Pharaohs to their first World Cup in 28 years back in 2018.

The former Roma forward has, however, never lifted silverware with his national side, twice finishing as a runner-up (2017, 2021) in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Salah will get another shot at the continental crown next year though, with Egypt having qualified for the upcoming tournament in the Ivory Coast.

The draw for AFCON 2023 will take place next week and, speaking ahead of the event, Egypt coach Vitoria highlighted Salah's importance to his side's chances – even comparing the talisman to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

He told Record: "Salah is very important in our national team. And these players, who are world figures, are in fact very important in the various teams they represent.

"We remember a Messi, we remember a Cristiano Ronaldo, we remember a Salah, maybe Neymar, Mbappe. The big teams have a player like this. And our Salah brings great positivity to the whole group. You feel this positive energy that is transmitted. You can feel the pride that a team also has in having a player like this.

"And the impact these players have on a daily basis is enormous. And sometimes they don’t even have that idea. But they raise the level of demand. And when I say demand, I mean demand from everyone. All coaches, colleagues, structures that have to be at a high level to also monitor the performance of those players. And this is a very big challenge even for Egypt. To have these types of players, we all have to raise our level of ability. But they are decisive."

Discussing the qualities Salah brings to the team, Vitoria highlighted his humility and positivity.

He added: "Salah is a player I love on the pitch and I love off the pitch. Because he represents what I understand he should be as a player. Extreme humility, friendliness, very positive energy. A tremendous focus on his profession. Always concerned about colleagues and the team. And that makes me very satisfied. I’m glad we have him and he’s a decisive player."

Salah's Egypt face two friendlies this month, first taking on Zambia on 12 October, before facing Algeria four days later.

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