Mo Salah – 1, Islamophobia – 0

Sports

Mo Salah – 1, Islamophobia – 0

Illustration: Akshita Monga

“W
ill Mo Salah play the World Cup?”

It was my first thought when I saw the teary-eyed Liverpool striker leave the field with a dislocated shoulder. Sergio Ramos had lunged in for a 50-50 ball, leaving Salah on the mat and the world divided on whether it was a foul. But as opinions kept pouring in, one thing was certain – Mo Salah couldn’t carry on any further. His entire season had led to this big moment, the Champions League final, where he could show the world what he was made of, after an incredible few months in front of the goalpost. To watch a player, in any sport, be robbed of his big moment because of an injury, is heartbreaking. Even for a Manchester United fan like me.

Surely, Mo Salah wouldn’t miss the World Cup, would he? That would be devastating. In the days after his injury, I frantically checked social media for updates on Salah’s condition as frequently as the Swiss fouled Neymar in Brazil’s opening game at the World Cup. I tuned in to football shows and that’s all the pundits and experts were talking about. Egyptians had gone into a tizzy, making the hashtag “son of a whore” trend in Arabic, the anger directed toward Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos. Everyone, it seemed, related to Mo Salah at some level. They really wanted him to make it.

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