Mohammed Salah: Why elite strikers need to be selfish

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Football is popularly paraded as a team sport. Bettors making a fortune from the best bookmakers on liontips.com know well enough that all players need to pull in one direction tactically for a team to win.

But here is the controversy. Football is a team sport, but elite bookmakers – such as those on liontips.co.uk – calculate that teams with in-form strikers have the best chances of winning.

Why?

Unique positions on the pitch need unique thought patterns

While a sense of togetherness is needed from the team, the psychological identity of specific positions needs unique thinking patterns. Let us break it down, shall we?

The defenders and the midfielders are essentially collective players. This means they must always sacrifice every iota of personal glorification and selflessly work for the collective good of the team.

Given the delicateness of the position he plays, the defender most especially is expected to be as less individualistic as possible, never seeking glory.

Traditionally trained to bask in anonymity, the defender should be satisfied with keeping the garden (his penalty box) free from pests (opposition attackers).

But for the attacker, it is way different. While two or more defenders can simultaneously and coherently defend to prevent the opposition from scoring, only one attacker can score at a time.

The media celebrates the goalscorer

Yes, the scoreboard only documents the player who scored the goal and the player who assisted. Admittedly, every other player that contributed to the goal outside these two loiters in obliviousness: unknown and uncelebrated.

Talking about celebration, the largest slice of glory is exclusively reserved for the goalscorer. Like it or not, this is the HERO!

Unfortunately, being this hero tends to require an overwhelming dose of individualism and self-centeredness.

It is no coincidence that the most elite attackers in the world of football today are furnished – or contaminated (depending on which side of the fence you are) – with ambitiousness.

The shameless truth is that such ambitiousness is the most modest disguise for the underlying selfishness in these players.

Mohammed Salah is always tagged selfish

Let us take a break to list names. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero, Mohammed Salah, Neymar… are fundamentally players who think of themselves first before the team.

Repeatedly, we see Mohammed Salah being criminalized by the press as being selfish. But the truth is, how can you consistently deliver the volumes of goals Mohammed Salah scores without yearning for glory for yourself?

It is almost ridiculous to expect a player who scores at least 30 goals in a competition as fierce as the Premier League to be the best team player in the world.

Reputed Sky Sports pundit, Graeme Souness, once labeled Mohamed Salah as “the most selfish player I’ve ever seen”.

But would it be fair to expect someone (Salah) who has scored a mind-blowing 137 goals in just 214 appearances for Liverpool to be the most selfless player?

For those who play football, they understand that to score that number of goals, you don’t score “assured goals”.

By assured goals, we mean taking chances that you are at least 90% sure of scoring. To score over 30 goals in a season in the Premier League, you have to be bold enough (actually selfish) enough to shoot the ball at the goalpost even when your teammate is in a better position to score.

We have seen this repeatedly from Mohammed Salah. Persistently, we have seen him refuse to pass the ball to Sadio Mane to score an almost empty goal post, preferring to try the score himself even from an unfavorable position.

Famously in September 2019, Sadio Mane angrily reacted to Mohammed Salah objecting to pass the ball to him.

When Klopp was asked about Salah not passing to Sadio Mane, he gave an eloquently philosophical answer.

“Strikers have to be selfish. I have never met an unselfish striker. You can be the nicest person in the world, but in the end, you want to score goals, and that means you do not see players in the same shirt.”

Elite attackers are driven by private prizes

The quest for individual glory is not particular to Mohammed Salah. The best attackers in the world are motivated – better said, obsessed – with individual trophies.

The likes of Mohammed Salah and Robert Lewandowski are desperate to win the golden boot every season.

It is no news that Robert Lewandowski fell out with his teammates when then Borrusia Dortmund attacker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, beat him to the highest goal scorer trophy in Bundes Liga.

Ronaldo and Messi, as we know, are eternally gluttonous for the Ballon d’Or. In countless scenarios, we have seen Cristiano Ronaldo terribly embittered when his team wins but he doesn’t score.

This push for individual glorification helps the team. The relationship between the team and the attacker is essentially symbiotic.

The team helps the attacker gets his individual glory (which here are his goals), and the attacker helps the team (when he scores) get the collective glory. The latter is the league trophies and cups.

It is a win-win at the end of the day, isn’t it?

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