Former Egypt striker Mido has launched a remarkable attack on Mohamed Salah after claiming the Liverpool winger has "never been a leader on the pitch."
Mohamed Salah faced criticism from some of Egypt's former stars for returning to Anfield early after picking up an injury at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, with the Pharaohs subsequently exiting the competition in the last 16.
One of those to criticise Salah was Hossam Hassan, Egypt's record goalscorer and newly-appointed manager of the national team.
Now former Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Marseille forward Mido has weighed in, lambasting Liverpool's No.11 for a lack of leadership since taking over the captain's armband for Egypt.
"Is Messi as a leader for Argentina like Salah as a leader for Egypt?," Mido said on The Untold podcast. "Salah is Egypt’s star, but does what he does with the national team resemble what Messi does with Argentina?
"Does Salah do what Ronaldo does with Portugal? Directing players in penalty kicks, saying who will take the shot and who will follow, and imposing his personality on everyone.
"Salah has evolved mentally, but he has never been a leader on the pitch, the evidence for that is why he didn’t get the captain’s armband at Liverpool?”
"Ask yourself why Salah has never worn the captain’s armband for Liverpool? Don’t say it’s because he’s a foreign player, as this is not a factor in English football, and there is ample evidence.
"Salah was negatively affected by becoming the captain of Egypt. He would have had more freedom and less pressure if he remained without that armband."
Mido added: "Some may accuse me of jealousy towards Salah, but those are a group of sick people. I cannot imagine Ahmed Fathi, with his value and great history, giving up the captain’s armband for Salah.
"These are red lines and a change in traditions followed for years, and comparisons shouldn’t be made with the cases of Messi and Ronaldo because the situation is completely different. The duo have completely different personalities and mentalities from Salah.
"If Salah were the captain of Liverpool, he wouldn’t have delivered the same strong performance. He is one of those players who find it difficult to bear the burden of captaincy."
Salah has captained Liverpool before despite the armband going to Virgil van Dijk after Jordan Henderson's departure, with Mido's attack on Egypt and Africa's most talented player certainly unwarranted.