Mohamed Salah underlined his “love” for Egypt as the Liverpool star hit back at critics of his decision to return to England for treatment on a hamstring injury.
Salah is expected to be sidelined for around four weeks as a result of the injury he suffered while playing for Egypt in their draw against Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations last week.
The 31-year-old has been criticised for leaving the Ivory Coast to undergo his rehabilitation with Liverpool.
Egypt’s record caps-holder Ahmed Hassan said Salah should have stayed with the team “even if he only had one leg to stand on”.
Egypt captain Salah hopes to rejoin his team-mates if they reach the latter stages of the tournament, and he gave short shrift to those who questioned his commitment to his country.
“Yesterday I started the treatment and rehabilitation program and I will do everything possible to be ready as soon as possible and return to the national team as was agreed upon from the beginning… I still love it and love its people. Try harder,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Salah had watched from the stands as Egypt secured their place in the last 16 on Monday with a 2-2 draw with Cape Verde.
The two-time African player of the year has never won the Cup of Nations and twice fell short in the final, to Cameroon in 2017 and Senegal two years ago
With Liverpool in the midst of a Premier League title challenge and also competing in the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup, Salah’s return to Merseyside has been seen as putting club before country.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was forced to apologise to the Egyptian FA after revealing Salah had opted to come back to Anfield.
But Salah’s agent Ramy Abbas Issa took to social media on Thursday to defend the Liverpool star from his detractors.
“The same individuals and ‘influencers’ who get weak in the knees when they happen to bump into Mohamed in person and beg for ‘follows’ or selfies, tried to capitalise on an unfortunate injury and questioned Mohamed’s commitment to his country,” he posted on X.
“They did this looking for fame, clicks and ‘likes’. I want to thank those who did the honourable thing and pointed out how ridiculous and cheap that was. I took names. In both cases.
“Most importantly, to the vast majority of you, who support Mohamed, my message to you is not to worry, because your global icon, the one you helped create, is already too big to be brought down by social media.
“No hyperventilating or foaming-in-the-mouth ‘influencer’ is going to change that.”
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