Former Russian footballer Dmitri Cheryshev has started the mind game battle with his recent assessment on Liverpool’s forward Mohammed Salah ahead of their clash against Egypt.
The Pharaohs made a return to the global showpiece for the first time since Italia 90 against the Uruguayans but narrowly lost the game without their key player. However, Russian legend Cheryshev thinks that Salah is not in the same class as Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Messi.
“He [Salah] is an exceptional player, but [he is] not a world-class football star, who can compete for the Golden Boot. Right now [the contenders for the award] are Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and maybe [England’s Harry] Kane. Liverpool uses Salah properly, here, in the Egyptian national team, things will be different,” Cheryshev told journalists.
Cheryshev’s son, Russia midfielder Denis Cheryshev, grabbed a brace in the first game of the tournament on Thursday, when Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0, making him the first player in history to score a goal in the World Cup opening match after coming on from the bench.
“The team is getting ready for Egypt. I played against [Egypt head coach Hector] Cuper’s teams before, he is the most tactical coach, you never know how to approach his teams. Any chance we might have we should use [in that match],” Cheryshev added.
Salah is expected to recover in time to feature against the host nation in what will be a make or mar game for his country. A defeat in this tie will end their hopes of qualifying for the Round of 16 pending on the outcome of the game between Saudi and Luis Suarez’s Uruguay.
The Russians are currently top of Group A thanks to a healthy goal difference, ahead of Uruguay with the same points, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia are yet to record a point in the tournament.