Mohamed Salah was thrilled to emulate “legends in football” by winning the Golden Foot award, as he credited Didier Drogba for motivating him to break Premier League records.
Salah ranked seventh for the Ballon d’Or on Tuesday as Lionel Messi collected his record-extending seventh accolade.
However, the Egypt forward was named the Golden Foot winner on the same day, an award given to standout performers for their athletic achievements – both as individuals and team players – and personality.
The trophy, which was won by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2020 and Luka Modric the year before, is only given to active players aged 28 and above, while players can only claim the title once. The victor also leaves a permanent mould of their footprints on the ‘Champions Promenade’ on the Monaco seafront.
After triumphing among 10 nominees, which are chosen by a panel of international journalists before an online poll decides the winner, Salah expressed his delight following more individual success.
“It’s great to win any award, but this one is special because a lot of legends in football have won it, so it’s something special to win,” Salah said after winning the award in Monte Carlo.
150 – Mohamed Salah has now been directly involved in 150 Premier League goals in his 171 games in the competition (108 goals, 42 assists) – only Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry reached 150 goal involvements in fewer games than the Egyptian. Elite. #LIVSOU pic.twitter.com/T1KJD6gfUU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 27, 2021
Salah sits top of the English top-flight scoring charts this term with 11 goals to his name, having also become the third-fastest player to 150 Premier League goal involvements with his assist for Diogo Jota in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Southampton.
The Liverpool forward achieved the feat in just 171 games, with only Alan Shearer (148) and Thierry Henry (163) reaching the milestone in fewer appearances.
Salah, who now has 108 goals along with 42 assists, also previously surpassed Didier Drogba (104 goals) as the Premier League’s top African goalscorer in the competition’s history with his hat-trick in the 5-0 rout of Manchester United in October.
Asked about breaking yet another record and overtaking African legend Drogba, the 29-year-old responded: “Well, I’m always trying to find the motivation inside me, just to drive me to give my best.
“I don’t know exactly, but that was one of the motivations to break his record. He of course is a legend. We know each other, he is my friend. So, it was a motivation for me to break his record, which I did.”
Liverpool cruised through their Champions League group after just four games and are third in the league, two points behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games.
Having already achieved Premier League success with the Reds in 2019-20 and continental joy with Jurgen Klopp’s side the season before, Salah refused to pick which trophy he would prefer to win this term.
Instead, he wants both.
“Well, I always say that I love always to win the Champions League,” he added. The Premier League… I would pick both. I think hopefully we can do both again this season.”
3 – Mohamed Salah is the first away player to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford for over 18 years, since Ronaldo did so for Real Madrid back in April 2003 in the Champions League. Ballon. pic.twitter.com/E9kOIRThgF
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 24, 2021
While the 29-year-old now dominates English and European football, he initially struggled during his time at Chelsea between 2014-16.
A subsequent move to Fiorentina on loan and then a permanent switch to Roma, following another season on loan there, shaped Salah’s career and he appreciates the influence Serie A has had on his career.
“I think it’s helped me a lot,” he continued when asked about his experiences in Italy.
“When I was in Chelsea, I had to change my football, I had to change to the culture. I felt that I needed to change my football, so I went to Italy. I played good and that helped me to be where I am at the moment.”