Liverpool forward Salah came seventh in the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards on Monday evening, but on the same night he picked up two other prizes away from the main ceremony in Paris
Mohamed Salah may have only come seventh in this year’s Ballon d’Or voting, but he was still honoured with two prizes on Monday night.
Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Cristiano Ronaldo were then next in line, all ahead of Salah who was down in seventh.
But as the victors took to the stage in Paris, Salah was some 430-odd miles away in Monaco.
Liverpool’s star forward was being celebrated at the Golden Foot awards, a lesser-known ceremony at which players can only be honoured once in their careers – with the winners leaving a permanent mould of their footprints on Monaco’s ‘Champions Promenade’ on the seafront of the principality.
The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Francesco Totti, Roberto Baggio and Cristiano Ronaldo, just last year, have all been honoured with the award, which tends to pay tribute to a player who isn’t recognised in that year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, which probably explains why Messi is yet to receive it.
Players also have to be over the age of 28 to be eligible for the award, which is chosen by a panel of international journalists.
Salah didn’t take to the stage in Monaco to receive his trophy having apparently needed to leave the ceremony early, and so instead it was his wife Magi Sadeq who picked up the honour on his behalf.
The Egyptian forward’s victory in Monaco was confirmed at almost the exact same time as many fans around the world were left puzzled as to why he was only seventh in the Ballon d’Or voting. In truth though, Salah had very little chance of winning that award.
Although often overlooked by some, the Ballon d’Or does rely heavily on a team’s performance in a calendar year – with international football taken into account.
With the African Cup of Nations postponed in the summer Salah only appeared seven times for Egypt across the course of 2021, scoring just twice, both in an African Nations Cup qualifier against Comoros in March.
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Liverpool’s struggles at the start of the year and their Champions League exit at the quarter-finals stage would also have been held against Salah, even though he has been in red-hot form this season and is currently leading Liverpool’s charge both at home and abroad.
With all this in mind, it was Argentina’s Copa America victory which would have been the deciding factor in Messi’s win – just as Italy winning Euro 2020 and Chelsea clinching the Champions League were crucial in Jorginho coming third.
Back in the UK, Salah was also named as the Men’s Player of the Year at the Football Supporters’ Association Awards in London on Monday, where he saw off competition from the likes of Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Manchester City pair Ruben Dias and Phil Foden in a poll of over 400,000 fans.
“I’m honoured to be the first player to win this award twice,” said Salah in a pre-prepared statement.
“I would like to thank the organisers and all the football fans who voted for me.”