Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah has admitted that he was ‘shocked’ to finish no higher than seventh in the 2021 Ballon d’Or rankings.
Last year’s award was won by Lionel Messi – the seventh time he has claimed the prize – after he carried Argentina to Copa America glory and posted mightily impressive numbers for Barcelona.
The free-scoring Robert Lewandowski finished a very close second with Italy and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho completing the final podium.
Salah came a distant seventh, below Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Cristiano Ronaldo despite starting the 2021/22 club season in world-class form.
Speaking to L’Equipe, the Egyptian revealed that he had expected to finish higher.
“It’s great to hear my name cited for the next Ballon d’Or. I don’t deny it, I want to be recognized as the best player in the world,” he said.
“And the Ballon d’Or is at the forefront of my goals. It’s true that I was shocked by my 2021 ranking.”
Salah added that he was aiming to put this right in 2022 by winning his maiden Ballon d’Or.
“For this year, this defeat against Real Madrid [in the Champions League final] is certainly a handicap, even if I had a good match. But it does not cancel everything I have achieved for months. Let’s wait for the jury’s vote. If I am not Ballon d’Or in 2022, I will do everything to be next.”
The Liverpool forward was also asked what he felt the impact of him clinching the prize would be.
“Such an award given to an Egyptian would have a considerable impact in the Middle East and also in Africa,” he said. “The hundreds of millions of people in these countries would understand that they can do the most extraordinary things.
“Because I, who come from a village in Egypt, have succeeded. One of my goals is to make people in the Middle East understand that nothing is impossible for them. I address myself in particular to children, they must believe that their horizon is totally open. I imagine the reaction of my compatriots if I come to present the Ballon d’Or in Egypt.”
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