- Mohamed Salah is said to be considering quitting the Egypt national soccer team.
- This is reportedly because of a global fallout from a meeting he had with the leader of Chechnya.
- Salah could feature in Egypt’s World Cup match against Saudi Arabia on Monday – but there are fears the game could be Salah’s last.
Mohamed Salah is reportedly considering quitting the Egyptian national soccer team over global fallout from a meeting he had with the leader of Chechnya, CNN reports.
Salah is regarded as one of the best soccer players on the planet. The 26-year-old returned 43 goals and 14 assists from 50 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool FC last season, and he was a key player in the club’s run to the 2017-2018 Champions League final.
But the mechanics of a Russian-run 2018 World Cup delivered Salah, a hero to many, to Grozny – the doorstep of Ramzan Kadryov, a political leader widely described as a warlord whose government made apparent attempts to purge Chechnya of gay people.
Before Egypt’s first 2018 World Cup game, Kadryov used Salah to burnish his image. He sent someone to rouse Salah from his sleep and take photographs in Grozny’s soccer stadium – photographs that swiftly circulated around the world and received widespread condemnation.
Here’s one of the photographs:
The fallout has forced Salah to reconsider his status as an international soccer player, according to CNN.
A source reportedly told the broadcaster that Salah “feels exposed” what happened and “doesn’t wish to engage in topics beyond football or to be used for anyone’s political image.”
But according to an email sent to CNN, the Egypt national team disputes Salah’s frustrations and claims “he has never discussed this issue” with the team.
Kadyrov has already made Salah “an honorary citizen of the Chechen Republic,” so it is clear Salah has been used to raise Kadryov’s profile.
While the player could feature in Egypt’s next World Cup match on Monday, there are fears the game could be Salah’s last for his country.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.