Is Mohamed Salah the Greatest Premier League Player to Never Win the Ballon d'Or?
Mohamed Salah was snubbed for the 2018 Ballon d'Or and wasn't even named in the top five.
He joined a long list of Premier League talent that has been overlooked for France Football's prestigious award over the years.
Since 2018, Salah has developed and evolved but has remained at the top of rankings for attackers. No forward has scored or assisted as many goals as the Egyptian has since his return to the Premier League six years ago.
Yet, he still remains as criminally underrated as ever.
Mohamed Salah did not deserve to win the 2018 Ballon d'Or...
...but neither did Luka Modric.
After joining Liverpool in the summer of 2017, Mohamed Salah went on a goalscoring rampage, almost guiding his new side to the Champions League.
The Egyptian played just 25 minutes of the 2018 Champions League final after his shoulder was dislocated during a tussle with Serio Ramos.
However, that season will always be remembered for the 44 goals and 16 assists Salah recorded. With 60, the left-footed superstar finished the season with the most goal contributions by a Premier League player.
However, he was outshone even in an attacking sense by Lionel Messi, who registered 45 goals and 25 assists with 70 goal G/A in total.
It was Luka Modric, however, who was named as the greatest footballer in 2018. Bizarrely, Messi did not even finish on the podium with the voting journalists deciding he was the fifth best player in the world. Salah was named sixth.
The top six were:
- Luka Modric (753 votes)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (478 votes)
- Antoine Griezmann (414 votes)
- Kylian Mbappe (347 votes)
- Lionel Messi (280 votes)
- Mohamed Salah (188 votes)
The top five Premier League players to never win the Ballon d'Or
The Premier League is widely considered to be the best league out of Europe's Top Five but, perhaps surprisingly, they have had very few Ballon d'Or winners.
La Liga has had 24 winners since France Football announced the award 67 years ago in 1956. Serie A have had 18 winners to the Bundesliga's nine.
The Premier League have had just six.
1. Thierry Henry
The French forward is widely regarded as the best player to ever play in the Premier League. This may confuse some given that Cristiano Ronaldo played for Manchester United.
But based on what they achieved in the Premier League, Henry is the clear winner. With 175 goals, he ranks as 7th for most goals scored in the English top flight. To go along with that, he assisted another 80.
But he was more than the typical stats. The grace that he destroyed (and destroyed is the right word) defenders isn't seen in the Premier League today.
He truly was one of the greatest players of all time and it's a pity that he never won the Ballon d'Or, missing out amid much outrage, to Paulo Nedved in 2003.
That season, Henry scored 24 goals and provided 20 assists.
3. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard
Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are two of the best to every play the game and arguably the two greatest to ever play in the Premier League.
From goal-saving tackles to 30-yard screamers to nuanced passing, Stevie G was one of the best central midfielders to ever play the game.
He came closest to winning the iconic trophy in 2005, finishing in third behind Lampard in second and Ronaldinho. That season, Gerrard had 13 goals and six assists, winning the Champions League against AC Milan.
Lampard had an incredible 19 goals and 21 assists, lifting the Premier League and the FA Cup.
Ronaldinho lifted La Liga, dazzling Spanish fans with his dribbling skills. His record that season was quite something as well, showcasing his double threat with 13 goals and 16 assists.
4. Mohamed Salah
Still the subject of adoration at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah is the latest superstar to wow fans at Anfield. Since joining the club in 2017, the Egyptian has dominated the goalscoring charts while establishing himself as one of the most creative attackers in Europe.
Salah might not have been the best player in 2018 but is certainly one of the best players of the Premier League era to not be named as the best player on the planet.
Certainly, he's the greatest African player of all time and with at least a year and a half left at Liverpool, he could still add to his tally with the Reds.
4. Virgil van Dijk
One of the most important signings in recent seasons is van Dijk. Liverpool's defence was pretty lackluster until the Dutchman made his January move to Anfield.
The result was that, combined with the goalscoring prowess of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Salah, the Reds were catapulted into an unexpected Champions League final. He also nearly won the Premier League, missing out on the title by one point the following season before eventually lifting the trophy in 2020.
Now Liverpool captain, van Dijk is hitting heights we haven't seen until now since his tragic ACL injury.
Is he going to keep improving? Will he be able to reach Ballon d'Or heights again?
If he continues the spike in form this season compared to least, it's possible especially now Leo Messi has moved to the MLS. Unless the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner lifts the World Cup with Argentina in 2026, he probably won't win another golden ball.
5. Wayne Rooney
Rooney was one of the best players to ever play in the Premier League. Debuting at 16, he was already the full package. He's currently the third highest goalscorer with 208 goals. Only Harry Kane (213) and Alan Shearer (260) have more goals than him.
Unfortunately, duty compels me not to praise the Man Utd striker anymore.
But here's Rooney singing Gerrard's praises.
When asked about who the best England captain he ever played under was, he named the legendary Liverpool captain.
"I'd have to say Stevie," he said. "For me he's an incredible player, an incredible leader. He helped me a lot during my early days with England."