Liverpool’s star forward, Mohamed Salah, is considering quitting the Egyptian national team due to his discontentment over the political antics of Chechnya’s leader – a claim which the Egyptian Football Federation has rejected, the CNN reports.
Salah got injured after Liverpool’s defeat against Real Madrid in the European Champions’ League final last month, subsequently missing Egypt’s opening World Cup match against Uruguay.
As he struggled for fitness, video footage and photos of Salah walking with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny where the Egyptian team are based for the World Cup went viral.
Kadyrov is infamously known for stifling any form of political dissent, supporting Russia’s military intervention in Syria, as well as violently subduing the Islamic resistance movement that fought the Russia for nearly two decades.
The Chechen leader made Salah an honorary citizen of the Chechen Republic of Russia upon arrival.
He wrote in a social media post: “Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of the Chechen Republic! That’s right! 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.”
According to a source close to the forward told CNN, Salah feels exposed by the antics of the Chechen leader.
Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated on the latest news and updates from around the Muslim world!
The source added that the Egyptian star does not want to engage in issues outside of football, especially politics.
The Egyptian Football Federation told CNN in an email that it was surprised that Salah was considering “quitting the national team” and that the 26-year-old failed to inform them.
The statement said: “We were always informed by Salah when he takes any decisions.
“We spend the whole day together and he has never discussed this issue with any of the delegation’s members.
“We are here in a sports event and we are following FIFA procedures, we don’t discuss politics, and if there is any political discussion, it should be directed to FIFA.”
Egypt play their last World Cup game against Saudi Arabia this afternoon, and both teams will not be entering the next round.