Mohamed Salah is “an exceptional player but not a world-class football star”, says Dmitri Cheryshev, as his son prepares to meet the Liverpool forward in Egypt’s clash with Russia at World Cup 2018.
The 25-year-old forward took the Premier League by storm in 2017-18, sweeping to the Golden Boot as a 44-goal haul also helped the Reds to the Champions League final.
An unfortunate injury suffered in that fixture prevented Salah from making his mark in Egypt’s World Cup opening-game defeat to Uruguay, but he has been declared fit to lead his country against the hosts on Tuesday.
He will be the man the Pharaohs look to for inspiration, but former Russia international Cheryshev doubts that a man sparking Ballon d’Or talk will be the same player for his country as he is at club level.
Cheryshev said in KingFut: “He is an exceptional player, but [he is] not a world-class football star who can compete for the [World Cup] Golden Boot.
“Right now [the contenders for the award] are Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and maybe [Harry] Kane.
“Liverpool uses Salah properly, here, in the Egyptian national team, things will be different.”
Cheryshev’s son, former Real Madrid midfielder Denis, will be hoping to line up against Salah in midweek after stepping off the bench to bag a brace in a 5-0 mauling of Saudi Arabia.
He will be in confident mood if called upon, with Russia having defied expectations in their opening outing to lift the spirits of a nation desperate for home success.
Cheryshev added: “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].”