Why Mo Salah Is Now The Best Footballer In The World

This image is a derivative of Mo Salah by Eric The Fish (CC BY 2.0)

How does a football player score two once-in-a-lifetime goals in back-to-back weeks? 

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah continues to leave fans in disbelief with his awe-inspiring performances having already scoring 7 goals and registering 4 assists in just eight EPL games this season while also netting three times over his first two UCL matches this campaign.

After dragging Liverpool out of the gutter and single-handedly qualifying them for UCL football last season the Egyptian maestro has continued his phenomenal form tearing the league apart through the first couple of months of the new season.

What makes Salah such a unique footballer is his ability to play in the inside left position as a half striker-half winger and one who is just as astonishing as a creator as he is a finisher. 

He has a near-telepathic relationship with Trent Alexander-Arnold which coupled with his tricky feet gives him the ability to get out of the tightest of gaps thus prevailing as an absolute nightmare to defend.

After ripping both Manchester City and Watford apart over the last few weeks and entrenching Liverpool as a genuine title aspirant the world is now legitimately asking whether Salah is now the best footballer on the planet.

Right now he is, and here’s why. 

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The performances from the former Chelsea reject this season shouldn't be a surprise if you took note of how good he was last year. Within a Reds team that struggled mightily to back up their 2019/20 championship, Salah was one of the few bright lights scoring 22 times and finding his way into the PFA team of the year.

This season, he's elevated his performances even further. His 1.37 goals plus assist per 90 is the highest in his career so far and is perfectly indicative of how adaptable and how much of an attacking beast he is.

This again can be clearly seen through both his goal and shot-creating actions. His 11 shot-creating actions from dribbles is leading up to be a career-high, as well as 1.37 goal creating actions which are again his highest of his career to date. 

But when making the claim that he is the best football player in the world, you need to compare him to the best. 

This season, Salah’s stats are right up there with Europe's elite.

As mentioned, his goal and shot-creating actions are a big part of what makes Salah so good. His shot-creating actions from dribbles and goal creating actions per 90 ranking second in Europe's top 5 leagues this season shows his class. He also leads goal creating actions from dribbles with this season, further perpetuating his unbelievable ability with the ball at his feet.  

His 1.37 goals plus assist per 90 ranks him 4th among Europe's top 5 leagues, and coupled with his creative ability, you have a player who is producing one of the most exceptionally well-rounded campaigns so far. 

But when determining why a player is the best in the world, you would need to look at more than just eight games, so let's look at Salah’s stats over the last calendar year, in comparison to Europe's Elite. 

In comparison to his fellow wingers, the Liverpool star ranks in at least the top 2% for non-penalty goals per 90 with 0.56, shots on target (1.46), expected goals (0.61), touches in the attacking penalty area (8.83) and progressive passes received (11.67)

When you broaden the percentage, Salah additionally ranks in the top 15% for goals per shot (0.17), goal creating actions from dribbles (0.10), carries into the penalty area (1.69) and overall pass completion (81.3%)

These absurd numbers pale in comparison if you compare him to the out and out number 9’s of the world where he ranks in the top 10% of carries into the penalty area (1.69), Progressive Carries (5.94), Passes into Penalty Area (1.92) and Progressive Passes (3.77) to name just a few. 

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Putting stats to one side, what Salah can do on a football pitch is quite simply unworldly. 

With Leo Messi struggling in a new league with PSG and with Cristiano Ronaldo not able to produce the same magic as he once did, we’re starting to see a new order in town when its comes to football’s absolute best.

Perhaps the only others in Salah’s league at the moment are Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski, yet even then, these three are yet to match the sheer wonder of what Salah has done so far, and often against far better opposition than that trio has faced. 

It doesn't matter if you are Manchester City, Chelsea or Watford, Mohamed Salah will rip your heart out, present it to you on a platter and perform a mesmerising jig with his feet while doing so. 

You can put 5, 6, 7 defenders in his way, but this great of the game will find a way past you while displaying ruthless efficiency mixed in with stupefying class.

Mo Salah is now the best footballer in the world.

Whether this will be the case in six months time is a different question entirely, but as of right now no single player is having more of an impact on their sport and doing so with such brilliance than this awesome Egyptian.

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Ari Stamatakos

Ari Stamatakos is a high school student and aspiring writer who's passionate about the sports he loves. An Avid Carlton, Melbourne Victory and Chelsea Fan, he currently writes for Carlton fan page BlueAbroad.com.auYou can check him out on twitter @Ari_Y_Stama

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