Champions League final 2018

Egypt optimistic about Salah

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo consoling a tearful Mohamed Salah before the Liverpool forward was substituted with a shoulder injury in the 31st minute of the Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday. Real won 3-1 f
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo consoling a tearful Mohamed Salah before the Liverpool forward was substituted with a shoulder injury in the 31st minute of the Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday. Real won 3-1 for their third successive title.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Minister says Mo will be in World Cup squad, after an X-ray shows sprained ligaments

LONDON • The Egyptian national team remain optimistic that Mohamed Salah can play in the World Cup next month, after their star forward was forced off with a shoulder injury in the Champions League final in Kiev on Saturday.

Salah, Liverpool's top scorer with 44 goals in all competitions this term, had to leave the field in tears in the 31st minute after crashing to the turf in a tangle with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

"Through follow-ups with the national team's delegation... the Liverpool officials said an X-ray on Salah's shoulder showed the injury to be a sprain in the ligaments," the Egyptian Football Association said on Twitter on Saturday.

The Pharaohs' team doctor, Mohamed Abou al-Ela, also "expressed his hope that Salah would make it for the World Cup matches, according to this diagnosis".

Egyptian Youth and Sports Minister Khaled Abd Elaziz said on Facebook that "Salah will be on the national team's final list for the World Cup, which is to be announced on June 4".

Their confidence, however, contrasts with statements made by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

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The German said immediately after the game that Salah's injury was "really serious", with the 25-year-old thought to have suffered a dislocated shoulder.

According to England's National Health Service, a dislocated shoulder takes "between 12 and 16 weeks to heal after the shoulder has been put back into place".

If that diagnosis is confirmed, it would rule Salah out of the showpiece tournament in Russia, with Egypt kicking off their Group A campaign against Uruguay on June 15.

He had cemented his status as a national hero by leading Egypt to their first World Cup qualification in 28 years.

The team's coach, Hector Cuper, has admitted the North African nation's hopes lie with him.

Team-mate Georginio Wijnaldum also revealed Salah's injury was the decisive moment in Liverpool's painful 3-1 loss to Real.

Klopp's side had made a strong start to the showdown in Kiev before the untimely event.

Liverpool's performance suffered an immediate dip as they struggled to adjust without their talisman.

The Dutch midfielder conceded the loss of Salah was a setback from which they could not recover.

"It was a big blow for us, the way we reacted after his injury," Wijnaldum said.

"When he was on the pitch, we did it well for 25 minutes, but (after the injury) there was less than before.

"It is hugely frustrating but we can't change it."

Klopp concurred with Wijnaldum's assessment that the incident was the turning point.

"The situation with Ramos and Mo was really bad a shock for the team. You could see that, Madrid immediately came up," he said.

Ramos also wished Salah a speedy recovery on social media yesterday.

The Spain defender trended globally on Twitter post-game and was the most searched in Egypt.

"Sometimes football shows you it's good side and other times, the bad. Above all, we are fellow pros," the 32-year-old tweeted, with the hashtag "#GetWellSoon".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2018, with the headline 'Egypt optimistic about Salah'. Print Edition | Subscribe