Following an extraordinary debut season with Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has the opportunity to cap off an extremely memorable and record-breaking season by helping his side claim their sixth European Cup title when they face off against Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday.
Salah has proven to be immensely influential for the Reds throughout their Champions League campaign so far, notching 10 goals in the competition so far, but how is the Egyptian attacker dealing with the pressure of being in a European final for the first time in his career?
Quite positively, in fact, as former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard revealed in his column in the Evening Standard, whereby the 2012 Champions League winner spoke of a recent interview he had with his former Blues teammate.
“The magnitude of Salah’s rise in the game this season can be summed up by the fact that Liverpool’s clash with Real Madrid in Kiev is being billed in many quarters as Salah versus Cristiano Ronaldo,” Lampard wrote.
“To some, that could be quite daunting. Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in history and has a record of scoring in major games which shows he’s one for the big occasion. But, trust me, Salah is ready to go toe to toe.
“I went to interview him at the start of the week for BT Sport and there was a steely determination in the way he spoke to me, as well as in his eyes.
“The two men are completely different characters,” Lampard continued. “Everyone has always been aware of Ronaldo’s confidence. He loves the limelight and enjoys the commercial side.
“Salah is a humble, quiet lad. His personality hasn’t changed a great deal from when I played with him briefly at Chelsea. He told me how Chelsea played a role in his development despite getting very few chances to play in the first team after joining in 2013, but it now feels like he’s grown into a man.
“Salah completely understands his talent in a good way; he’s full of self-belief, yet speaks with humility. I think he now feels, and rightly so, that it is a case of him versus Ronaldo. He believes this is his level.
“Both teams will have to be wary of these two individuals who could decide which club end up lifting the trophy. Salah will definitely look to exploit the inside right channel. Real Madrid’s left-back Marcelo will be given licence to go forward as normal and that will leave them vulnerable.”
The Champions League final on Saturday will see Liverpool face off against Real Madrid in the final for the second time, with their first meeting in the final seeing the Reds triumph 1-0 back in 1981.