Peter Byrne

Luiz: Salah can win Ballon d'Or with Champions League triumph and strong World Cup

The Liverpool star has been tipped to challenge for football’s top individual award.

MOHAMED SALAH HAS a good chance of winning the Ballon d’Or if he helps Liverpool triumph in the Champions League final, according to Chelsea defender David Luiz.

The Egypt international has scored 44 goals in a memorable first season under Jurgen Klopp and has been tipped to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 10-year dominance of the game’s top individual award.

Luiz sees no reason why Salah cannot stake a claim for the prize if he can get his hands on the Champions League trophy – Liverpool meet Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday – and produce the goods at the World Cup next month.

When asked if he sees his old team-mate as a Ballon d’Or winner, he told Omnisport: “I don’t know, it depends on the year, depends on things.

“He did an amazing year in England already. He has the opportunity to do amazing in Europe with the Champions League and he has the opportunity to play the World Cup, so why not? I think if he does well now in the Champions League and then also in the World Cup, why not?”

Salah struggled to make an impact during his time at Chelsea and was sold to Roma in 2016 after successful loan spells with the Giallorossi and Fiorentina in Serie A.

It was there that the 25-year-old began to develop into a top-class forward, prompting Liverpool to sign him last year for a fee that could rise to €50million, a club record before deals were struck for Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita.

Luiz thinks highly of Salah as a professional and is confident his best years are yet to come.

“He’s a fantastic person, fantastic professional,” he said. ”He has top quality. Every year he was improving, improving, improving. He was working hard for that. I’m so happy for him because he deserves this moment.

“It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning. The other day I had the opportunity to talk to him again, I said ‘just enjoy the opportunity’, because it’s just the beginning, he’s doing amazing and the right way. I’m happy for him because he deserves it.”

Luiz, a Champions League winner in 2012, is expecting an “amazing” final when Liverpool take on Madrid.

“It was one of my highest moments in football,” he recalled. “It was great, especially in the condition I was playing in that final. I was injured for three or four weeks, thinking I was not going to play, then arrived the moment and we won.

“It was hard to play against Bayern in Munich and then I had the pleasure to touch the trophy and be a winner of the Champions League, it was great.

“[Roberto] Firmino is my great friend, also Salah and [Sadio] Mane, they are doing amazing. It’s going to be an amazing Champions League final, both teams deserve to be there and I just want to sit on the sofa and watch this game.”

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