Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool season ended in tears on Saturday as the Egyptian striker was subbed out of the Champions League final against Real Madrid after just 30 minutes of play. Madrid captain Sergio Ramos entangled himself with Salah and tumbled onto the striker’s arm, causing an injury to his shoulder area. Salah attempted to return to the pitch but only lasted a few minutes before collapsing to the ground and calling for the trainers.
Beyond Salah’s health and recovery, the biggest questions to arise from his injury relate to Ramos’ intent. Fox commentator Stuart Holden quickly dismissed the idea that it was a dirty play, but subsequent replays didn’t look great. At best, it was an aggressively clumsy arm bar. Ramos, for his part, consoled Salah as he walked off the pitch.
Since moving to Liverpool from Roma over the summer, Salah has been the breakout star of world football. His 32 goals were an all-time single-season Premier League record, and the 25-year-old has become a legitimate cultural phenomenon.
It’s a terrible situation for Liverpool and a positively awful one for Egypt, who are set to play their first group stage match of the 2018 World Cup in just 20 days. Salah is Egypt’s captain and nothing short of a national hero (and a popular write-in vote during the country’s recent presidential election). Egypt wouldn’t be at the World Cup if it weren’t for Salah, and they won’t be expected to finish anything but last in their group should he fail to recover in time.
If you enjoy watching great athletes do amazing things, you should be rooting for a speedy recovery for Salah. The World Cup wouldn’t be the same without him.