Written by Staff Writer
DeMar DeRozan of Toronto Raptors and Mo Salah of Liverpool are both outstanding footballers, yet critics say they are less likely to win the Ballon d’Or, the prestigious FIFA World Player of the Year award.
Perhaps it’s because their teams, Toronto and Liverpool, won just the league title against all odds in 2016 and 2013, respectively. Perhaps it’s because Salah’s runs and dribbles are few and far between for Liverpool — and his scoring prowess is limited for the Reds — and his jump is rather minimal.
Conventional wisdom dictates a player must command a side to win the league if they want to pick up the accolade — Salah did it for Liverpool in 2016, but failed to do it again last season — and elevate his profile in the fashion of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
It’s undoubtedly true the forward, who broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for the most goals by a European player in the Champions League and was the outstanding player in a largely disappointing season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, does not match the billing of his predecessors in the eyes of the public.
We asked Swiss sports writer Aabino Maci, who has written extensively on the impact of Ramadan in the 2016-17 Premier League season, to separate the wheat from the chaff in regard to the depth of Salah’s talent.
“It’s difficult to say. It’s difficult to say whether Salah has won the Liverpool player of the season award (top scorer in the Premier League), which would automatically qualify him for Ballon d’Or,” he told CNN Sport.
“If you look at his records at Liverpool, there is no arguing against him. There is no argument about his ability, no one could stop him from scoring a goal (of the season).”