Mohamed Salah is one of the best players in the world. Now those who discovered it at the time are looking back at the beginnings of the Egyptians in Europe.

Mohamed Salah is now one of the best footballers in the world. But getting there was anything but easy. Before the Champions League final on Saturday (9 p.m. in LIVE TICKER) between Salah’s Liverpool FC and Real Madrid, former companions spoke about the discovery of the Egyptian.

In 2012, Salah, who had just turned 20 at the time, came to FC Basel in Switzerland. The fact that the Swiss series champion at the time became aware of the Egyptian was due to video sequences, which should be viewed with caution. “These best-of videos are usually pretty embellished. But you could already see that either the other players can’t do anything at all or the boy is really good,” said the then Basel sports director Georg “Gegge” Heitz at DAZN.

Mohamed Salah: Basel coach Heiko Vogel was impressed

The coach at the time, Heiko Vogel, was also impressed by the few scenes. “After 30 seconds I said to Gegge: What is that? Those were outstanding scenes. That was crazy,” says Vogel. So Salah came to the trial, but he wasn’t able to convince directly. “We announced him big and were sure that he was a bomb, and then he wasn’t able to confirm everything,” Vogel admits: “We wondered if he might have a twin brother.”

However, these doubts were gone after the second day. “I’ve never seen anything as dominant as on the second day of training. In two-on-two he played with all cat and mouse. None of my players could stop him,” explains Vogel. Against the criticism that Salah was wasting too many chances, he defended Salah with an interesting comparison: “In Ferrari mode, it’s incredibly difficult to have a perfect, tight ball control.”

Salah made the move in January 2014, but he was denied a breakthrough there. He finally ended up in Rome via Florence, and after two outstanding years there he finally switched to Liverpool FC in 2017. The rest is history.