Throughout our Welcome to World Class series, we’ve spoken of the brilliance of some of the finest footballers on the planet.
Yet, no matter how talented a player may be with the ball at their feet, very few can lay claim to have done what Mohamed Salah has. Since his ascent at Liverpool, he has not only won the biggest titles there are to win, but has transcended the boundaries of sport and become an icon - both in his homeland, and across the globe.
The Egyptian King joined an illustrious roll of honour in April 2019 when he starred on the cover of TIME 100 magazine, joining sporting greats like Tiger Woods and LeBron James in being named one of the world’s most influential people.
"Mohamed has become bigger than football and stands for diversity in a very fractured world. He acts as a unifying force and brings people together. The world is in a messy place right now and he breaks down a lot of barriers."- Former Liverpool CEO Peter Moore
Since arriving at Liverpool in 2017, Salah has catapulted himself into the world class bracket, proving himself to be one of the most ruthless goalscorers in Europe and quite frankly making the brilliant seem ordinary.
The Premier League has been graced by some truly remarkable frontmen over the years, yet – since the league changed to a 38-game season in 1995/96 - no player has scored more in a single campaign than Salah’s 32 strikes in 2017/18.
At times, the Egyptian has been criticised for his selfish style of play, but this is one of the facets of his game that makes him so brilliant. It's also one of the many reasons why Liverpool have been crowned both English and European champions in the past two years.
While certain individuals in Jurgen Klopp’s squad are regularly lauded for their selfless work, Salah is totally one-track minded – it’s almost as though he lives to score goals – and once he sees the whites of a goalkeeper’s eyes there’s nothing that’s going to get in his way.
Of course, having a team packed with players who work for each other is all well and good, but every successful side needs a frontman with ice in his veins who can provide the killer instinct needed to win championships, and that’s exactly what Salah is to Liverpool.
Having broken records aplenty in his debut season at Anfield, the former Chelsea man has gone somewhat underappreciated on Merseyside over the past few seasons, with his maiden campaign still fresh in the memory.
While he may not quite have matched the heights he reached three years ago, Salah has quietly continued to spearhead Liverpool’s quest for glory, notching more than 20 goals in all competitions in each of his three full seasons at the club – a figure he’ll undoubtedly surpass in the 2020/21 campaign.
It’s almost become an expectancy that Salah will just be brilliant and score goals, and while that seems to drive him on to be even better, there aren’t many bigger compliments you can a pay a player than that.
"Mohamed Salah is a fantastic player. He blossomed at Liverpool after being already very good at Roma. He is a sensational player. He is one of the best players in the world right now."- Arsene Wenger
The sheer tally of Salah’s goals will forever be what defines the frontman’s career, though there’s a lot to appreciate in the diversity of his strikes.
The Liverpool forward relies heavily on his left foot – and every defender in the Premier League knows that – but it’s not a simple case of ‘put him onto his right and we’re fine’.
His low centre of gravity and ability to seamlessly shift his weight mean it’s nigh-on impossible to nullify the threat he poses, as shown against Tottenham in 2018 as he wriggled his way past three Spurs defenders before chopping onto his right and lifting the ball over Hugo Lloris with his left.
When you compare that strike to the thunderbolt at Anfield against Chelsea in 2019 or the Puskas Award winning effort against Everton, you start to get a flavour for just how difficult it is to stop a goalscorer who has every possible type of goal in his repertoire.
While Salah’s dedication and drive has of course aided Liverpool in returning to the apex of English football, personal accolades have never been far behind. His second spell in England has already seen the 28-year-old pick up two Premier League Golden Boots, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year and an incredible seven PFA Player of the Month awards.
Regardless of what you look for when deciding if a player is in the very top bracket of footballers or not, it's utterly impossible not to consider Salah as world class - he just is.
He's got the mentality, he's got the talent, he's got the team accolades, he's got the personal accolades and he's got the records. There literally isn't anything more that he could do.
Unquestionably one of the Premier League's greatest ever forwards, a genuine world superstar and undoubtedly world class.