Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has revealed the misery he felt after last year’s Champions League final “still hurts.”
Salah enjoyed a fine debut season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions and winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards, but it ended cruelly in the Champions League final as he was forced off with a shoulder injury 30 minutes in, having tangled with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
The Reds went on to lose the game 3-1 and Salah missed Egypt’s first match at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He scored in the next two but did not look at his best as the African nation bowed out with three group-stage defeats out of three.
Liverpool and Salah have a chance at redemption this season having reached the semi-finals – where they meet Barcelona in Wednesday’s first leg – and Salah says the memories of how it ended for him a year ago are still with him.
“When I think about it, it was very, very bad,” he told Bleacher Report.
“Final of the Champions League, big dream for yourself and the city, for the fans, for everyone. We wanted to win the Champions League. That time was mentally very, very bad.
“Especially when I got substituted; I went to the dressing room and was just crying – I felt the Champions League was over and the World Cup was over. It was very tough for me in that moment.
“I think it still hurts until now because you didn’t win it, you feel like you were close to winning the Champions League and you didn’t win it.
“I wanted to play the World Cup, it’s a dream, but I’m not fit. I got to my room, I was almost crying every day.
“Before the first game [against Uruguay] I didn’t play, I was crying on the bus, I was crying in the bathroom because I wanted to start, I wanted to play.
“In the meantime, I know I’m not fit at all to play. In one moment it disappeared, it’s so difficult.”
Ramos claimed his “conscience is really clear” over the incident and that he never intended to hurt Salah.
Yet the Liverpool player said the two had not spoken on the issue and he did not wish to discuss Ramos’ role in the injury further.
“I didn’t speak to him,” he added. “For me, the subject is closed.”