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Javier Aguirre knows the Egyptian star better than most

Having no actual football during a global pandemic hasn’t stopped the praise for Mo Salah from rolling in. This time the plaudits for the Liverpool star man are coming from his former Egyptian national team coach, Javier Aguirre. Aguirre is a fascinating journey-man of a manager, having managed in World Cups and in Spain and everywhere in between. In this interview with ESPN, he opens up about a lot, but here are his quotes about Salah.

“It would surprise you what a good lad he is, how noble: he’s the first to the team talks, the first in the gyms, the most serious.” Aguirre says of Salah, “There’s a question, though: he’s the best player in Africa, with Sadio Mane, and he’s Muslim too.

“And carrying those two labels, with the pressure that brings, it’s very, very hard. He has no breathing room.

“In England, he can be happy: there are 17 other players. But he sets foot in Egypt and it’s madness.

“He’s a lovely lad, delightful; the difficulty is everything that goes around him, the pressure. He has to be careful about the tiniest thing.

“He’s so pure, so innocent too; he doesn’t have that touch of picaresque that Argentinians or Uruguayans have.

“He’s transparent, honest, straight. Like English football, in fact.”