Mohamed Salah insisted he is ‘proud’ to represent Egyptians at the highest level in football after missing out on UEFA’s Player of the Year to Luka Modric.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric pipped Salah to the prize with the Liverpool star in attendance at the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday night.
Salah sat in front of Sergio Ramos, whose tackle on the forward in the Champions League final wrecked Liverpool’s chance of winning the trophy and forced Salah into a race against time to be fit for the World Cup.
The Liverpool star enjoyed a record-breaking season in England and spoke of his pride to be the first Egyptian nominated for the UEFA award.
‘When you do something for the first time, nobody has done it as an Egyptian before, something great, it’s something I have to be proud of,’ Salah said.
‘There are 100 million Egyptians who see me as a role model.
‘That’s something I have to be very proud of.
‘Sometimes you feel pressure because of that, but it also makes you work harder to do your job better and better and better.’
Football fans watched closely the interaction between Ramos and Salah and the internet went into meltdown when the defender touched his rival’s shoulder when retaking his seat.
Ramos accepted the award of the Defender of the Year and acknowledged Salah as he returned to his seat, but was quite noticably given the cold shoulder.
The Champions League draw saw Manchester United matched with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, while Liverpool are in Group C with Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade.