Mohamed Salah could win the Ballon d’Or this year ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo according to former Liverpool forward Harry Kewell.
Salah only joined Anfield last summer, but is already a huge contender for winning the Premier League Player of the Year and the Golden Boot after his scintillating form saw him score 28 league goals in 30 games as well as 36 goals in all competitions in his debut campaign.
His latest exploits saw him score four goals in Liverpool’s crushing 5-0 win over Watford last week, with Hornets boss Javi Gracia later comparing his individual brilliance and ability to undo a gameplan to that of Barcelona’s Messi.
With Real Madrid talisman Ronaldo having just one more goal in all competitions with 37 and Messi currently boasting 35 goals in all competitions, Salah is producing similar figures to the two players who have dominated the sport for the last decade.
No player other than Messi and Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or, now known as the FIFA Best Player award, since Kaka achieved the feat in 2007 but Kewell believes Salah can break the trend.
In order to do that, the 25-year-old would need a good showing in the 2018 World Cup in Russia this summer with Egypt, who Salah helped qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1990, as well as continue his stunning form into the 2018/2019 season.
“Salah has had a phenomenal season,” the Australian told talkSPORT via Goal.com. “People are saying about Player of the Year, but I’d even go that next step. If he was to have a fantastic World Cup, gets a couple of goals and plays well, and then continues again next season, why not go for the Ballon d’Or? He’s got the goals, I don’t see why he couldn’t win it.”
Salah exceeded expectations this season with a key component to his success being his dribbling ability that has wreaked havoc on opposition defenders. Like many others before him, Kewell has compared his offensive style to Messi.
“He has this amazing dribbling ability, and defenders are scared of it,” Kewell added. “It’s a part of the game that players believe they can do, but when you get someone who can actually dribble, obviously the best is Messi, who can run at defenders and be able to chop and change on a dime, and Salah can do this, you just can’t stop it. That’s the key with Salah — he drives at people, he’s chopping, turning, dribbling and people just don’t know how to deal with him.”
Despite Salah’s heroics, Liverpool is currently third with 63 points, just two points ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who have a game in hand with 61 points. Jurgen Klopp’s men will travel to Crystal Palace on March 31 after the international break ends this week.