Mohamed Salah tells fans the Champions League final is not about him against Cristiano Ronaldo

Mohamed Salah celebrates after helping Liverpool beat Roma over two legs to reach the final in Kiev.
Updated 03 May 2018
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Mohamed Salah tells fans the Champions League final is not about him against Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Champions League final will pit Egyptian ace against Portuguese star Ronaldo.
  • Salah has scored 43 goals in a stunning debut season at Anfield and is now a favorite for the Ballon d'Or

Mohamed Salah has told fans that the Champions League final will not be a personal duel between himself and Cristiano Ronaldo, rather a battle between the collective might of two great clubs — Liverpool and Real Madrid.
The Reds lost their semifinal second leg to Roma 4-2 on Wednesday, but the defeat was not enough to stop Liverpool’s march to the final, with Jurgen Klopp’s men going through 7-6 on aggregate.
That has set up a mouth-watering showdown in Kiev against the defending champions and the prospect of battle between Salah and Ronaldo. The Egyptian ace has had a superb season at Anfield, scoring 43 goals, earning him rave reviews and comparisons with Lionel Messi and the Portuguese star.
But keen to emphasize the fact that Liverpool’s route to their eighth Champions League final has been far from a one-man show, Salah told fans that he is only focused on winning the trophy for his team and not proving he is the best player in the world.
“I know all of the Arab people wish the best for me, and they are happy every time I win, but now at the moment I am only thinking about the final and to bring the trophy to Anfield,” Salah said.
“It is not going to be a final between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo. I am playing for a great club and we have great players, so qualifying to the final came with great teamwork. I cannot do it alone — it is collective work. When we score a goal it’s because we are all doing good, when we concede it means we all need to work harder.”
Klopp meanwhile has warned his side that the job is only half done, and that getting to the final will mean nothing unless they can beat the defending champions a lift the club’s sixth Champions League.
“Going to a final is really nice, but winning is even nicer. We will be ready, but it is Real Madrid,” Klopp said. “You cannot be more experienced in this competition 
than Real Madrid. They are in the final four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire.”


Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

Updated 26 May 2018
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Van Dijk backs Salah to shine in Kiev showpiece

  • Virgil van Dijk: He (Mohamed Salah) is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals.”
  • Van Dijk: “To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.”

LIVERPOOL: As Mohamed Salah prepares for a career-defining period, Virgil van Dijk is confident his Liverpool teammate’s star will only shine brighter on football’s biggest stages.
The Liverpool frontman will face-off with Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid tonight in the Champions League final before heading off to a debut World Cup with Egypt.
And having witnessed an incredible season that has brought 44 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League ­— for the Egyptian star, Reds defender van Dijk says he has the all-round ability to strike fear into the reigning European champions and international sides.
“He is a nightmare for defenders, creating and scoring goals,” said the Dutchman of the 25-year-old Salah. “It’s complete for him.
“He’s like everyone in our squad, laidback, calm, no big personalities and egos. We work hard for each other and just want to be better.
“I think he can definitely be the best in Europe, but there are two other players who are pretty good at the moment as well (in Ronaldo and Lionel Messi). I hope for Mo it happens because he deserves it. He is that kind of player to light up a World Cup as well.”
While all eyes will be on Salah and Ronaldo as potential match-winners in Kiev, van Dijk, 26, will have a major role on the defensive front.
The game will offer the center-back the chance to prove he was worth the £75 million ($100 million) it cost to sign him from Southampton in January.
“Any player who arrived at this club, they want to play in these games, they want to be under this kind of pressure, they want to get trophies,” he said.
“I don’t think I have been bought to win the Champions League final. I have been bought to hopefully get the best out of myself and the best out of the team with the help of everyone else.
“To be calm, that is sometimes a very good thing to have, but personally sometimes I have to learn, too.
“Against Manchester City in the away game (of the quarter final) I was a little bit too calm in the beginning, for example. That is something I have to learn as well. To be in the final right now, it has been a crazy journey.”
Watching last season’s final between Real and Juventus, van Dijk realized just how much he wanted to be a part of the competition — and why Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were the club for him, despite interest from City.
“I never really go to big games to watch as a fan, but I was in Cardiff,” he recalled. “The sponsors (Sony) hooked us up with two fantastic seats and it was two hours from where I used to live, so we thought, ‘let’s go.’
“From the moment I got there a lot of people in hospitality were Liverpool fans and they were saying, ‘join, please join.’