Mohamed Salah was briefly the favourite to win the 2018 Ballon d’Or following his remarkable debut campaign with Liverpool.
The Egyptian forward had scored an astonishing 44 goals in 51 appearances for the Reds prior to the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Salah knew that his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or, world football’s most prestigious individual accolade, would be significantly enhanced if he inspired Liverpool to glory in Kiev.
However, the 25-year-old’s evening ended in heartbreaking fashion.
Salah was forced off midway through the first half with a dislocated shoulder following a challenge involving Sergio Ramos. Liverpool went on to lose the final 3-1.
Fearing his World Cup dream had also been ended, Salah left the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium pitch in floods of tears.
However, the Egyptian remains completely determined to feature at the showpiece international tournament and could even play against Uruguay on Friday afternoon.
RONALDO IS THE CURRENT 2018 BALLON D’OR FAVOURITE
Whichever nation wins the World Cup, their star performer will stand an excellent chance of winning the Ballon d’Or later this year.
Ronaldo is now the favourite after Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph but that could all change over the next few weeks if Lionel Messi inspires Argentina to glory or Neymar helps Brazil lift the World Cup trophy.
Because Egypt are extremely unlikely to win the World Cup, Salah’s hopes of sealing the Ballon d’Or may now be over.
Even if he starts the 2018-19 season in blistering form, it might not be enough to land him football’s most coveted individual prize.
RONALDO HAS HIS SAY ABOUT SALAH’S BALLON D’OR CHANCES
Ronaldo, however, doesn’t believe that’s the case. The Portuguese superstar, who is hoping to win the Ballon d’Or for a record-breaking sixth time, believes Salah is one of the few players capable of breaking the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly this year.
“Many people talk about the Cristiano Ronaldo-Messi battle but there are other players who have chances to enter the race (for Ballon d’Or),” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo. “The Egyptian is one of them.”
Very honest stuff there from Ronaldo.
“Mo Salah has been one of the revelations of the year,” he added.
“I hope his injury in the final in Kiev doesn’t keep him out.”
Ronaldo receives a lot of stick but he deserves respect on this occasion for hoping that Salah, his rival for the Ballon d’Or, is able to realise his dream of playing at the World Cup.