With Mohamed Salah now officially confirmed as an AS Roma player, here’s 11 facts every Roma fan should know about our new Egyptian star…
1. Mohamed Salah was born on June 15, 1992 in Basyoun, a city to the north of Cairo. He followed European football when he was young and his boyhood idols were Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo.
2. He began his career in the youth team of El Mokawloon. As a youngster he was always picked at full-back but one episode convinced his coach to play him up front. His team had just won an important encounter 4-0 but rather than celebrating, Salah was actually in tears because he hadn't managed to get on the scoresheet. Once the coach realized how passionate he was about scoring goals, he moved him forward and steered his career down a different path in the process.
3. His debut in the Egyptian top tier came in March 2010 and the following season he was promoted to the first team, scoring his first league goal in December 2010. By 2011-12, he had become a regular starter, but following the death of 74 fans in the Port Said stadium disaster and the Egyptian Revolution, the national championship was suspended.
4. With competitive club matches suspended, the opportunity to put himself in the shop window came along thanks to a friendly organized by FC Basel against the Egyptian U23 national team in March 2012. Salah came on in the second-half and netted twice, gifting his side a 4-3 victory. A month later, the Swiss club came calling with a four-year contract.
5. In 2012-13, he played a starring role as Basel won the league. He was voted Most Valuable Player in the Swiss Super League and also won the Swiss Golden Player award.
6. The story behind his transfer to Chelsea is similar to how he arrived in Switzerland in the first place. He played against his future club for Basel in the semi-finals of the 2012-13 Europa League and even scored the goal that put the Swiss outfit momentarily ahead at Stamford Bridge - the match ended up 3-1 to the hosts. In the following season, Salah hit the back of the net both home and away against Chelsea in the Champions League group stages, helping his team to two unexpected victories.
7. In January 2015, he moved to Fiorentina on loan and his impact on Italian football was instant - with nine goals in just 26 matches. His standout moment in a Viola shirt has to be his double in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals, handing Fiorentina a slender advantage at the Juventus Stadium.
8. At his previous clubs, he has worn the following jersey numbers: 22 at Basel and 15 and then 17 at Chelsea. He chose No.74 at Fiorentina in tribute to the victims of the Port Said disaster. At Roma, he will take on the No.11 shirt.
9. Salah boasts 37 appearances and 21 goals for Egypt. He also competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and netted three times, one in each game of the group stages against Brazil, New Zealand and Belarus.
10. Salah hit the headlines in July 2014, when he risked having to temporarily interrupt his playing career in order to carry out compulsory military service in his country. The Prime Minister, Minister for Education and the head coach of the national team had to sit down together to resolve the situation, opting in the end to protect the jewel in the crown of Egyptian football.