Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah had his 2018 Champions League final finished before half time after an aggressive challenge from Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos forced him off with an arm injury
To this day, Mo Salah can barely think about it, think about the mental pain and anguish, when he was helped from the pitch, a broken man just 30 minutes into the 2018 Champions League final.
Now, there is a visible wince as he recalls the moment, the smile which seems to be permanently on his face disappearing as a cloud falls across his eyes. “I remember when I went off, it was the worst moment in my career,” he says now, of that incident where he was subtly, but brutally accosted by Real Madrid ‘s Sergio Ramos.
“It was the worst thing to happen for a player. I knew the result from the hospital. We could not lose that way. I was really down at that time. We had a good season and came to the Champions League final and then I went off. ”
Ramos used all the dark arts in the defender’s armor to put Salah out of the final, and the Liverpool forward has made clear he feels it was an intentional act. No wonder his first reaction when witnessing Madrid’s astonishing comeback against Manchester City in the semi final was to tweet: “We have a score to settle.”
He subsequently doubled down on those comments after receiving the FWA Footballer of the Year award, adding: “Yeah, I think it’s revenge time.” No wonder then, that Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson, who sat alongside Salah in the pre-Champions League press conference at the Reds’ training ground on Tuesday, was in humorous mood as he teased his team-mate.
When asked about the Egyptian’s revenge mission, he turned to Salah with a huge smile, and said with a loud chuckle: “He did not mean to say that, did you Mo ?!” Henderson though added, slightly more seriously: “I can understand from Mo’s point of view, it was a very emotional time, it was very tough for him and tough for everyone.
Will Mo Salah have his revenge on Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos in this season’s final? Have your say here
VI Images via Getty Images)
“But for me, you do not need any more motivation to win a Champions League final. It was all you dreamed of as a kid, to play big games and they do not get any bigger than a Champions League final.”
Salah himself is more laid back about the prospect of facing Madrid, after overcoming an injury scare in the FA Cup final, to declare himself fit for Saturday’s game in the Stade de France. He will relish the prospect of facing his old enemy, even if Ramos will be a mere spectator for the final, and he admits his motivation is off the scale.
“I’m very motivated, motivated through the roof, especially after what happened last time and what happened on Sunday (when Liverpool were beaten to the Premier League title by Manchester City), everybody is motivated to win the Champions League,” he said. with the hint of a wry smile.
“We fight for this and everyone is excited. As a team we’re doing good, I’ve had a good season and I just try to help the team and that is the most important thing for me.” Salah could not resist one final word on the subject of revenge though. When asked who Liverpool’s matchwinner could be on Saturday, Salah replied: “Hopefully me!”