Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah has spoken for the first time since finishing a disappointing seventh in this year’s Ballon d’ Or awards. Salah has enjoyed a prolific year for the Reds but was snubbed at the awards ceremony as Lionel Messi took home the seventh trophy.
Paris Saint-Germain star Messi pipped Bayern Munich Robert Lewandowski to the gong for the best individual player.
Third place went to Chelsea midfielder Jorginho after the Italian won the Champions League and European Championships.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema took fourth, while another Chelsea man, N’Golo Kante, finished fifth just ahead of Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Salah had scored 32 club goals in 2021 going into the awards ceremony on Monday night, the same number as Messi, and added to that tally in Liverpool’s thumping Merseyside derby win over Everton on Wednesday.
The Egyptian maintained his brilliant form by scoring twice in the Reds’ 4-1 win at Goodison Park and was then asked on Prime Video his thoughts about the Ballon d’Or.
“I have no comment,” he replied.
He was then asked if he could finish higher in 2022, to which he responded: “Hopefully, winner or not.”
Salah may be coy on his chances of breaking Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance of the award – something only Luka Modric has done since 2007 – but Messi himself knows he will have tough competition.
“Salah will have opportunities in the years to come,” he said after winning the award. “Both players [Salah and Lewandowski] are at their best at the moment and will have more chances to win it.”
Salah’s place at the top table in world football is undeniable and he underlined his status on Wednesday night against Everton.
Jordan Henderson curled Liverpool in front before sending Salah through to make it 2-0 after just 19 minutes with a deft left-footed finish.
Demarai Gray gave Everton some hope by finishing past Alisson, but Liverpool took control again after the break.
Salah seized on a mistake by Seamus Coleman to sprint clear and find the bottom corner before Diogo Jota blasted into the roof of the net to seal it.
It was a brilliant night for Jurgen Klopp’s side and, after extending his lead at the top of the Premier League goal scoring charts with his 13th of the campaign, Salah was asked about his goal target for the season.
“Hopefully for many more!” he said. “My first target is to win something with the club – Champions League, Premier League, hopefully, both – and that will be good for everyone.”
Next up Liverpool face Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday before a trip to AC Milan for their final Champions League group game on Tuesday evening.