Egypt and Liverpool striker, Mohamed Salah, has been featured as one of the cover stars for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
A passionate gender equality advocate, Salah scored 44 goals in his first season for Liverpool, won the Premier League golden boot in 2017, and is currently the joint top scorer in the premier league with 19 goals.
Speaking to the Time, the Egyptian who is well aware of how football fans in the Middle East hold him in high esteem, revealed how honored he was to be on the list, and spoke of the need for women to be treated with veneration.
Salah stated that: ‘People always have big expectations from you. You see the kids, they’re wearing your shirt and they say they wish they could be like you one day.’
‘To be the first Egyptian in [this] situation and no one has done this before … it’s something different.
‘I just live my life normal. Most of the time I stay at home, I don’t like to go out.’
‘I think we need to change the way we treat women in our culture. It’s not optional. I support the woman more than I did before, because I feel like she deserves more than what they give her now, at the moment.’
Host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, spoke about the Egyptian forward.
He wrote in the magazine that ‘Mo Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he’s one of the best football players in the world.
‘You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete in any sport less affected by their success or status than Mo, which is incredible because I can’t imagine the kind of pressure that comes with the intensity of adoration he receives.’
‘Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.
‘As a footballer, he plays with an infectious joy. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be able to play as well as him, and watching his face light up after he does something incredible, you get the reassuring sense that it’s exactly as fun as you’d want it to be. I absolutely love him.’
The 26-year-old has musician, Taylor Swift, actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, actress Sandra Oh, journalist Gayle King and politician Nancy Pelosi for company on the other covers.
South African runner, Caster Semenya, NBA superstar, LeBron James, U.S. soccer’s Alex Morgan, tennis player, Naomi Osaka, and golfer and pro gamer ‘Ninja’ (Richard Tyler Blevins) also made the top 100.
Osaka, Morgan and Semenya are among a record 48 women to be named in the list while masters winner, Tiger Woods and La Lakers’ James have been on the list three and four times respectively.