Monday Apr 13, 2020. 12:00
Legendary American coach Bob Bradley has named Mohamed Salah as one of the best players he has coached.
Bradley coached Salah between 2011 and 2013 as the Egypt head coach and he since named the Liverpool FC attacker alongside Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoitchkov and former France international Youri Djorkaeff.
“Hristo Stoitchkov. End of his career. Personality, power, intelligence, passion. The discussions that we had about his Barcelona teams, how they played, those things have always stuck with me,” Bradley told Sports Illustrated.
“And then the second one, it’s interesting because it’s Mohamed Salah. And I started to work with Salah when he was 19.
“At the very beginning, I looked at him and the first person I thought of was Hristo [Stoitchkov] because of the power and the speed and the explosiveness and left foot and the ability to come from outside in and do incredible things,” he added.
“So I showed Salah clips of Stoitchkov and talked about things that I thought made Hristo so special.
“And it’s been amazing for me to watch Salah develop as a player and as a person. I hear from him all the time. He’s an incredible guy, and I’m really proud of him.”
Bradley stated that Egyptian football icon Mohamed Aboutrika is the best leader he has coached.
“When I arrived in Egypt, people said he [Aboutreika] was too old. I didn’t pick him for the first game. We played a friendly against Brazil in Qatar,” Bradley continued.
“Instead of complaining about it, he publicly said – because he wasn’t playing much at Ahly at the time -‘I’m not playing much. I have to show Bob what I can do.’
“Then he started to play a little bit and immediately I thought: he’s still different than all the other players. And Port Said happened. And we marched. And a day later I went to the memorial, and I saw the players and I saw their faces. And I knew what they had seen in the locker room [where fans died that day],” he added.
“I spoke quickly to Treika that night and said, ‘I’m going to come to training at Ahly next week, and then I want to speak to you.’ And I went to Ahly, and at the end I said, ‘Can we find a time to speak?’
“When no one knew about it, he came to my hotel and the two of us sat upstairs and we talked about the possibility of the World Cup, and he brought a T-shirt that he gave me,” he said.
“It was a Brazil 2014 T-shirt. And I said at the end of that meeting, because he still wasn’t playing 90 minutes: ‘Look, I don’t know whether you’re going to play 90 minutes or 45, but I need you in this.’
“He was incredible. He got his fitness back. He played at an incredibly high level. Everyone looked up to him. He’s a fantastic man. And so just for everything that he represents, I think that’s Treika.”