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Salah feared the move to Saudi Arabia. It’s not about loyalty to Liverpool

Date: April 20, 2024 Time: 17:18:25

On September 1, Liverpool CEO Mike Gordon met with representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad. According to The Athletic, the Arabs have offered the Reds £150m for Merseyside striker Mohamed Salah, but Gordon said the 31-year-old Egyptian is not for sale. The leaders of Liverpool explained this position by saying that the Club is not interested in letting its leader go. In addition, last summer the African signed a new three-year contract with a salary of 350 thousand pounds a week (nobody earns more at Anfield) and does not want to change the situation.

Salah’s high status and importance to Liverpool was also confirmed by coach Jürgen Klopp, who added the Egyptian to the team’s list of vice-captains in the new season. And yet, there is another very good reason for Mo’s refusal to go to Saudi Arabia. The African carefully weighs the risks associated with moving to a country with which Egypt has historically had very tense relations. In particular, in 2011, during the popular unrest in Egypt, Saudi Arabia supported the Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and, after his overthrow, did not recognize the government of Mohammed Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Salah fears becoming a tool of influence in a big political game

As you know, although Lionel Messi refused to go to the Saudi Arabian championship, this did not prevent the living football legend from signing a $25 million agreement with the obligation to vacation with his family in this country at least once a year. for three years. and advertise to Arabs on social media. According to The New York Times, the contract between the player and the kingdom includes a clause that prohibits Messi from saying anything that could tarnish the reputation of the country and its leaders, who are already criticized around the world for human rights violations and abuses against women. and authoritarianism.

In February 2021, Messi wrote a letter to the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia apologizing for not being able to make the planned visit. In the letter, the Argentine addressed Ahmed Al-Khateb as “His Excellency” of him. That is, Leo is very aware of the influence that the kingdom has. The Egyptian Salah is even more aware of this: Mohamed understands that the money offered to Liverpool came from the state treasury. And this carries the risk of becoming an instrument of influence in a great political game.

Unlike Salah, Lionel Messi has the luxury of working with Saudi Arabia

Photo: TF-Images/Getty Images

In August, the words of popular Saudi Arabian sportscaster Walid Al-Faraj caused quite a stir when he said that the rivalry between Al-Nasr and Al-Hilal is now the strongest matchup in the Middle East. “For a long time, the most attractive signal was the duel between Al Ahly and Egyptian Zamalek, but the interest in the Cairo derby did not spread beyond Egypt”, argues the journalist forcefully. “This derby lacks a significant international audience. Nowadays there are many more football stars in Saudi Arabia and this championship also has more coverage in other countries. In particular, in 2023, 40 broadcasters around the world acquired the rights to broadcast Saudi Arabian league matches.”

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Considering that Egypt has long been the powerhouse of the region in almost many industries, according to Al-Faraj, it will take time for everyone to “adjust to the new stage.” Responding to this escapade, Egyptian Premier League president Ahmed Diab stated: “Anyone can say anything, but that will not change the attitude that the main derby in the region is still the matchup between Al-Ahly and Zamalek. . “

This was followed by further introspection in Egypt, where famed former Tottenham and Middlesbrough striker Mido sided with Al-Faraj to some extent. “Egyptian football is stagnant. This not only affects the level of the teams, but also the poor condition of the old stadiums, as well as the poor quality of television broadcasts. Not to mention the shortage of brilliant artists,” Mido lamented.

The Liverpool striker fears the fate of another Egyptian football legend, Aboutrika.

Of course, there is no point in arguing about the standard of living in these two countries: if in Egypt the GDP per capita is $14,000, in Saudi Arabia it is $57,000. “I went to train from my town to the city 90 km away, the road took several hours one way. There were also problems with normal nutrition,” Salah remembers when he was a barefoot child. The Liverpool striker built a hospital in the town at his expense and allocates money to improve roads and other infrastructure. One day he dreams of returning home, building a soccer academy and fostering talent. If he moves to Saudi Arabia at some point in his career, this may cause problems.

In Mohamed’s homeland, Aboutrika was placed on the terrorist list and deported

Photo: Mike Egerton/Getty Images

Before the African’s eyes is the example of another Egyptian football legend, Mohamed Aboutrika. This attacking midfielder helped the national team win two African Cup of Nations (2006, 2008), won the CAF Champions League five times with Al-Ahly (2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013) and was remembered by his compatriots for his humanitarian work. missions and charitable activities. However, since 2017, the cult hero of Egyptian football has lived in exile in Doha, where he works as a pundit for the BeIN Sports broadcaster.

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Even during his active speeches, Aboutrika often spoke out on political issues, including expressing solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and supporting the democratic protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, which led to the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak. , who ruled the country for 30 years. In 2013, Egyptian authorities accused Mohamed of financing the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization and his assets were confiscated: the network of travel companies owned by the footballer was nationalized.

Egypt’s Court of Cassation placed Aboutrika on the terrorist list, and in May 2023, his next appeal failed. It is important to remember that Aboutrika supported the candidacy of Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi; In Egypt they believe that he was financed by the Saudis.

Mohamed’s situation is unlikely to change as long as Field Marshal and dictator Abdul Al-Sisi is in power in Egypt: his re-election to the presidency in 2018 was a mere formality. It is noteworthy that under the leadership of El-Sisi, relations with Saudi Arabia have improved, because both countries are ruled by an authoritarian system. The Saudis value Egypt’s powerful military to help defend the Red Sea, and Egypt regards its neighbors as its most important economic benefactor and source of manpower.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Photo: Murat Kula/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia is currently home to the largest community of Egyptian expatriates in the world, estimated at 2.5 million. This migration has increased since Saudi Arabia began providing significant financial support to Egypt in the last decade. However, in 2016, the Arabs demanded two islands in the Red Sea from the Africans to continue this support: Al-Sisi’s government made concessions, which the Egyptian people did not like very much. Since then, they have treated Saudi Arabia like mocking colonialists.

Mohamed criticized for meeting with Kadyrov

It is not difficult to understand that a trip to work with the Saudis in such an environment for a living legend of Egyptian football is fraught with great risks to his reputation. Salah’s move to Saudi Arabia at the peak of his career will be perceived by his compatriots solely in the spirit of “selling out to the rich.” There is no doubt that the Arabs are using the image of Africa’s best player for their own selfish purposes.

By moving to Saudi Arabia, Salah will enter a world he has tried to avoid throughout his career. So far, this is solely due to his great skill on the football field and positive reviews from fans. Joining the Saudi Pro League would make his future depend on relationships and diplomacy outside of his control.

Ramzan Kadyrov and Mohamed Salah

Photo: Magomed Abasov, “Championship”

Mohamed is especially cautious after the 2018 incident. Many human rights organizations criticized Salah for meeting Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov as the Egyptian team was preparing for the World Cup matches in Grozny. According to CNN, Salah felt vulnerable and from now on he does not want to get involved in stories that are not related to football or used for someone else’s political purposes. Therefore, the potential transfer of him to Saudi Arabia is very doubtful. At least in the near future and in the current circumstances.

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* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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