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Mo Salah speaks out as Rui Vitoria sacked as Egypt boss after starting Jurgen Klopp row

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Mo Salah’s injury wrecked Egypt’s AFCON campaign which ultimately ended up costing Rui Vitoria his job.

Mohamed Salah has said a heartfelt goodbye to ex-Egypt boss, Rui Vitoria, following his sacking after their poor performance at the African Cup of Nations. The Pharaohs managed to reach the knockout stage without winning any group games; they only got there due to draws with Mozambique, Cape Verde and Ghana.

In contrast, the previous year, Egypt had reached the AFCON final only to be knocked out this time around by DR Congo on penalties. It was just a few days later that confirmation came through that Vitoria, who started coaching Egypt in July 2022, had been shown the door.

Despite an impressive record of twelve victories from fourteen matches going into the tournament, Vitoria was relieved of his duties. The former Al Ahly coach, Mohamed Youssef, has stepped in for him temporarily.

Salah’s last game under Vitoria saw a 2-2 draw against Ghana. However, he left the pitch before half-time due to a hamstring injury. Following confirmation of the coach’s departure, Salah paid tribute to him on Instagram by posting: “Thanks for everything, coach. I wish you the best in the future.”

Salah, who has earned 13 of his 86 Egypt caps under Vitoria, had a standout performance when he scored four goals in a 6-0 World Cup Qualifying win over Djibouti in November. However, there was a bit of a spat between his club and country manager after Jurgen Klopp gave an update on Salah’s fitness.

This happened after Klopp confirmed that Salah was heading back to Merseyside for treatment on his injury, with the hope of him potentially returning later on. Vitoria wasn’t too pleased with Klopp going public and responded sharply in a following press conference.

He stated: “We didn’t want to alarm anyone. I didn’t think it was right for Liverpool, via any intermediary, to speak about this, because we had a tremendously important game today. Salah has always been with us. Now this game is over we will find the best solution for the treatment of the player. These are the facts. This is the situation.”

“Before the game we did not want to say anything. Meanwhile, everything was in the control of our excellent medical team.” Klopp later apologised to Vitoria, but it all turned out to be irrelevant as Egypt didn’t stay in the competition long enough for Salah to return.

Liverpool’s next match is against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday. It’s still uncertain when Salah will be back for the Reds as they aim to win four trophies between now and the end of the season.

 

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