·17 July 2022
·17 July 2022
Mohamed Salah is a global superstar.
The Egyptian is one of the most recognisable figures in football. A hero not only in his native country but the continent of Africa as a whole.
With 52 million followers on Instagram, Salah is a household name.
But it’s taken time for the forward to establish his status.
Having started his professional career in Egypt with Al Mokawloon Al Arab, it was always going to be difficult for Salah to burst onto the scene worldwide at a young age.
But it was the summer of 2012 that changed Salah’s career.
He left Egypt for FC Basel in Switzerland, where he would catch the attention of major European clubs thanks to his performances in the Europa League and Champions League.
At the same time he was signing for Basel in 2012 aged 19, he was representing his country at the Olympic Games in London.
Salah arrived at the tournament as a relatively unknown quantity.
But his performance in a group stage match against Brazil certainly got him noticed.
Salah started on the bench at the Millennium Stadium against an incredibly strong Brazilian side that consisted the likes of Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Oscar, Hulk and Neymar among others.
Unsurprisingly, Brazil raced into a 3-0 lead in the first half against Egypt.
But after Salah was introduced at half time, the match changed direction.
It was Salah who won a free-kick which led to Egypt pulling a goal back. Then after troubling the Brazilian defence constantly, Salah made it 3-2 with a beautiful finish from outside of the penalty area.
He was unable to inspire an incredible comeback as Egypt fell to a 3-2 loss but his performance certainly made people sit up and take notice of this 19-year-old sensation.
Egypt would progress through their group alongside Brazil before a quarter-final defeat.
One man who certainly knew Salah’s name by the end of that group stage match was Marcelo.
The legendary left-back was 24 at the time but simply couldn’t contain Salah as he was skinned time and time again.
And now, 10 years later, a compilation video of Salah’s highlights during those 45 minutes is being shared on social media.
It’s not a great watch for Marcelo, who had an extremely difficult half of football, but it’s fascinating for the rest of us.
Of course, Marcelo and Salah would meet again many more times on even bigger stages than the Olympic Games.
One of those clashes occurred in the 2018 Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Kyiv.
And ahead of the final, Egpyt’s captain during the 2012 Olympic Games predicted Salah would get the better of Marcelo as he did six years previously.
“I witnessed on that pitch what Salah can do to Marcelo during the Olympic Games,” Mohamed Aboutrika told beIN Sports MENA, per Liverpool Echo.
“I was playing with Egypt against Brazil. Marcelo is terrified of Salah.”
Aboutrika’s prediction didn’t quite go to plan as Salah was forced off early after Sergio Ramos’ rough tackle.
But if Marcelo is ‘terrified’ of Salah, he certainly isn’t the only defender in world football to be so.
Salah has used the Olympic Games and the move to Basel in 2012 as a springboard to become of the very best players in world football.
While his performances in recent years at Liverpool may have elevated his status in world football, it seems he’s always had incredible talent as shown 10 years ago against one of the best left backs ever.
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