Edin Dzeko has called on former team-mate Mohamed Salah to take a break from his record-breaking goalscoring exploits when Roma take on Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals.
A man reluctantly sold by the Serie A outfit in the summer of 2017 has enjoyed a stunning debut season at Anfield, with a 41-goal haul seeing him named PFA Player of the Year.
Salah is also drawing comparisons to global superstars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Egypt international considered to be performing at that level at present.
Dzeko is fully aware that the 25-year-old could now come back to haunt Roma in continental competition, but he is hoping to see an in-form forward endure a rare off day in Europe.
He told reporters ahead of a first-leg encounter at Anfield on Tuesday: “It is such a shame that he left us.
“I have talked with him about his past when he was playing at Chelsea. Obviously, he was much younger and everyone knows the English league is not the easiest league in the world.
"But I think Italy did him good. He played three years in Rome and he scored a lot of goals in Serie A, he learned a lot here.
“We text each other a lot. When the semi-final draw was made, I just wished him luck in breaking the Premier League record but told him he can take a rest against us!”
Of Salah’s 41 efforts this season, nine have come in the Champions League.
He netted in both legs of a quarter-final clash with Manchester City, with the newly-crowned Premier League title winners put to the sword in spectacular fashion.
Aleksandar Kolarov could have been forgiven for asking his former club for a few pointers on how to try and contain the free-scoring frontman, but the ex-Blues defender insists Roma are eager to avoid focusing their attention on just one player.
The Serbia international, who helped his side to down Messi and Barcelona in the last eight, said: “I haven’t spoken to anyone at City about Salah because it is not about stopping one player.
“It would be dangerous to focus just on him. Liverpool are not only about Salah. They have a number of good players.
“Against Barca, we did not focus just on Messi. We played as a team and by playing in this way we can achieve great things.”