Before the international break, Mo Salah became the most prolific African player in history of the Premier League, surpassing Chelsea legend Didier Drogba. It now goes without saying Salah is Africa’s greatest footballing export to these shores and it is also arguable he is the best player on the planet right now. But where does the Egyptian wing wizard rank among Premier League greats?
Where does Mo Salah rank among the Premier League greats?
Salah’s goalscoring record compares favourably with any other player from the Premier League’s past. While Alan Shearer’s haul of 260 Premier League goals may never be beaten – although Harry Kane might have a shot at reaching it – Mo Salah is actually scoring at a faster rate than Shearer did in his Premier League prime.
Shearer scored his goals at a rate of 0.59 per game, but it is worth pointing out only a couple of years of his career were spent at teams who were challenging for the Premier League title. Salah’s goals record stands at 0.64 per game, placing him among the Premier League’s elite.
It should also be factored in here that Salah’s first Premier League stint at Chelsea saw him given few opportunities to impress, with just two goals in 13 appearances for the Blues. Kane is one of only three players with a better goals-per-game record in the Premier League.
Thierry Henry sits at the top of the table with 175 goals from 258 Premier League appearances giving him a goals-per-game ratio of 0.68. Henry is a fair comparison to Salah as he also often played off the flank, whereas Shearer and Kane both usually lead the line as a number nine.
Sergio Aguero’s 184 Premier League goals from 275 games for Manchester City also put the Argentinian slightly ahead of Salah on 0.67 goals per game. However, Mo Salah seems to actually be improving his goalscoring and the 29-year-old right on track to win what would be his third Premier League Golden Boot, drawing him level with both Kane and Shearer.
While the 32 goals Salah plundered back in 2017-18 seemed a benchmark he would struggle to repeat, he is on pace for a similar return in 2021-22 if he can maintain his current hot streak. Salah’s goals-per-game ratio is set to keep improving as the season goes on. By the time Salah is ready to hang up his boots, he might have moved above Aguero and Henry to top the lot.
The genius of Mo Salah is about more than the sheer numbers, though and he is responsible for a rapidly expanding individual highlights reel that few in Premier League history are able to match.
This season alone, Salah has scored a stunning individual goal against Watford, leaving a trail of bamboozled Hornets defenders in his wake before producing a sublime finish. That came just a couple of weeks after a similar strike against rivals for the Premier League title Manchester City, with Salah dancing away from a couple of challenges to beat Ederson in style.
“I don’t know which one is better, this one or the City one,” Salah himself said in a television interview after the Watford goal.
Often, Premier League legends are either great goalscorers, like Shearer, Kane, Ian Wright or Andy Cole, or scorers of great goals, such as Paul Scholes or Tony Yeboah. But Mo Salah is both.
The magical moments Salah is now producing on a regular basis are reminiscent of Leo Messi. Salah is making the extraordinary become the norm.
Durability and a fine role model
Mo Salah rarely misses a game for Liverpool, having played in at least 34 Premier League matches every season since he signed from Roma. He never seems to be injured, despite teams having tried to kick him out of games in the past, with his incredible durability making it easy for Jurgen Klopp to lean heavily on him.
The shoulder injury Salah sustained in a challenge with Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid is one of the few times he has been forced out of action. Off the pitch, Salah is regularly hailed as being an important role model too. Not all footballers welcome being given that responsibility, but it is something Salah has embraced over time.
As one of the world’s most high-profile Muslims, it is not always easy for Salah to speak out. Every time he appears in the media, his words are pored over and assessed across the globe.
A couple of years back, Salah was included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world after he spoke of the need to treat women more equally. It is not just on the pitch where Mo Salah will go down as one of the greatest in Premier League history.
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