Mohamed Salah has revealed that his affection for Liverpool began playing FIFA video games.
The attacker joined the Reds from Roma last summer and has grown into a sensation at Anfield, with his performances sufficient to earn him a nomination for FIFA’s The Best Player award.
“When I played FIFA or another video game, I always took Liverpool in 2005,” he told France Football, reflecting upon the team that won the Champions League by coming back from a 3-0 half-time deficit against AC Milan in Istanbul.
“I would always put Steven Gerrard in the No.10 because he had an amazing shot! Then, I’d put Jerzy Dudek in goal, and the central defenders would be Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia. But I played with Liverpool on my console well before 2005.”
Salah admitted that it did not take long for him to feel at home in Liverpool, with the supporters playing a key role in this.
“One or two months after I arrived at the club, I heard them sing my song and it was so special,” he said. “That’s when I really felt the love and the fervour towards me. The fans are simply the best.”
The 26-year-old has come a long way from his childhood in Egypt, when he went to quite extraordinary lengths to play.
“You can’t expect to get what you want without making sacrifices,” he explained. “I’ve always made big sacrifices.
“When I was young, in Egypt, I would travel nine hours each to train then return home in Nagrig. I needed to change bus four or five times. And when I came back, I would only see my family at dinner, then I’d go to lie down.
“At that time, there was no mobile internet. I’d spend time talking to my friends on the phone or I’d listen to music. But most of the time I slept – especially after training.
“I wasn’t going to miss the chance of my life all because of a nine hour commute!”