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Does Mo Salah have a shot at winning the Ballon D’or?

Mohamed Salah’s performances for Liverpool this year have cemented him as truly one of the best players on the planet, and there’s certainly more than enough of an argument to say that he’s the world’s best player at the current moment in time. The ‘Egyptian King’ has scored 15 times in 12 appearances this season, including 10 in nine Premier League games giving defenders fits in the reds’ undefeated start to the season.


Considering his form throughout 2021, it’s hard not to put him among the favourites to win this year’s Ballon d’Or. Betting sites currently have his odds at 25/1 behind PSG’s Lionel Messi (1/3) and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (9/4), but recent performances may well make the Egyptian King the king of all world football, and put it beyond reasonable doubt that he truly is the best player in world football.


The best in the world?


Star Scottish left back Andy Robertson recently called Salah the “world’s best” footballer in an interview with Sky Sports. He said: “I think the way he's playing at the start of this season - he's been incredible. You can just see him walking on the pitch and he feels as though any chance he gets he's going to score.


“The thing that goes under-rated with Mo is his work-rate - the way he helps out Trent (Alexander-Arnold), the way he helps out his defence behind him and everything like that. That's when he's at his best, that's when he creates the chances and gets the goals, when he's mentally so strong.


“He's an incredible player and I think at this moment he's the world's best and he'll want to continue that. He won't want it for nine or 10 games, which he's done so far, he'll want to do it for a whole season like he's done previously and hopefully he can do it, because it gives us the best chance of scoring goals and winning trophies."


Salah ranks first in the Premier League in goals, shots, shots on target and expected goals, and his five assists rank second behind Paul Pogba. His hat-trick against Manchester United was his most remarkable performance of the season with doubt, proving himself to be unplayable against Liverpool’s bitter rivals in their 5-0 demolition job at Old Trafford.


Klopp’s high praise


Salah’s performances this season have not just Robertson saying Salah is the best around, but his manager Jurgen Klopp too. After Salah’s mesmerizing show against Watford on October 16, Klopp told BT Sport: “"His performance was massive today. The pass for the first goal was great and the second goal was special. He is top. We all see it. Who is better than him? We don't have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance. But right now, he is the best."


Klopp gave Liverpool fans something to be particularly excited about, saying that he thought there was even more to come from his star forward. He said: “He is at his age where you can still improve, and he's doing that constantly. You saw the first goal that he set up for Sadio today, that is an outstanding pass. He brought that, I don't know, from the summer break. After that, he started doing these kinds of things.


“He's in the top, top five since he is at Liverpool pretty much. And now he is the best in that moment. The big thing between Cristiano and Messi was that nobody had a doubt about it for years, but Mo is already on the top level for years as well and there's still a lot to come from him because of his desire. He just wants to perform on a top-class level."


What are people in the media saying?


It’s not just people within Liverpool Football Club that share this belief too, as pundits have been saying the same thing. After Salah’s performance against Sky Sports pundit and Manchester United legend Gary Neville said: I feel he could be [the best in the world] at this moment in time because when I look at Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, they're players who have been the best for the past five to 10 years, but they're just not quite at the level right now that they'd ordinarily be at.


"Salah right now is at a level that's really high and has been for the past three or four seasons. He's a special player. He's ruthless, clinical and so single-minded in terms of scoring goals. At this moment in time, he could be."


Former England defender Martin Keown and BBC pundit was also full of praise for the Egyptian after the Watford game, saying: "The pass from Mo Salah to Sadio Mane was out of this world. We are seeing Salah at Lionel Messi's level."


Former Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards, who works for both BBC and Sky as a pundit, agreed with Keown, saying: “At this moment in time Liverpool look like the team to beat. When I watched Salah against Manchester City a couple of weeks ago he was in the form of his life and he can't be stopped at the moment.


"As a team everything looks like it's coming together and they really do look strong. Salah is the best forward in European football at the moment in my opinion."


As Salah continues to put in other-wordly performances in a Liverpool shirt, his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or improve. Messi has not been performing at his usual elite status this season, and has failed to find his feet a bit for PSG so far, and while Lewandowski has been in fine goalscoring form, no one is in better form than the Egyptian at the moment. While the bookmakers have Salah as an outside bet to win the title of best player in the world, he may have hit form at the perfect time, with his brilliant performances fresh in the mind of voters.

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