Mohamed Salah is considering his international future with Egypt, a source has told ESPN following a report by CNN, due to his unhappiness at being drawn into a political row during his stay in Chechnya with his national team during the World Cup in Russia.
The Liverpool forward, who was forced to miss the opening game defeat against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg as a result of the shoulder injury sustained during the Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid last month, has been pictured alongside Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic, since arriving at Egypt’s base in Grozny.
Kadyrov has since declared Salah to be an honorary citizen of Chechnya in a ceremony with the player.
“Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of the Chechen Republic! That’s right!” Kadyrov wrote in a social media post. “I gave Mohamed Salah a copy of the order and a pin at a celebratory dinner that I gave in honour of the Egyptian team.”
Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya since 2004, is a controversial figure on the global stage due to his hard-line rule over his people and a series of controversial comments, particularly against the gay community.
CNN has reported that Salah is uncomfortable with the image that has been projected during Egypt’s time in Grozny, with the former Roma player unwilling to be used as a political pawn.
A source with knowledge of Salah’s position on the matter has confirmed this to be correct to ESPN, adding that the player is now considering his international future.
The Chechen controversy is the latest that Salah has experienced while on international duty, with the forward winning a battle against the Egyptian FA in April over the use of his image rights.
Salah is expected to play for Egypt — already eliminated from the World Cup — in their Group A encounter with Saudi Arabia on Monday before flying home and embarking on a summer break.
But his international future will now be under consideration as a result of the events in Chechnya during the tournament.