Mohamed Salah has reiterated his surprise at finishing seventh in the 2021 Ballon d'Or vote, but the Liverpool superstar remains determined to get his hands on a Golden Ball and emulate the achievements of fellow African icon George Weah.
A talismanic presence at Anfield has registered 156 goals over the course of the last five seasons, claiming three Premier League Golden Boots and a PFA Player of the Year award, but he is yet to be recognised as the best player on the planet.
That is a situation that the 29-year-old forward intends to change in the near future, with Salah desperate to follow in the footsteps of former AC Milan striker Weah by landing the most prestigious of individual prizes – with a Liberian icon making history when topping that particular poll back in 1995.
Will Salah win the Ballon d’Or?
After finishing down the pecking order in 2021, with Lionel Messi claiming the seventh Ballon d'Or of his remarkable career, Salah has told France Football of his ambition for upcoming campaigns: “I want to win it to join George Weah, the only African.
“It's true that I was shocked by my ranking in 2021. For this year, the [Champions League] defeat against Real Madrid is a disadvantage, even if I played a good game in the final.
“But it doesn't cancel out everything I've achieved for months. Let's wait for the vote. And if I'm not Ballon d'Or winner in 2022, I'll do everything I can to be the next one.”
Salah did help Liverpool to FA Cup and Carabao Cup glory in 2021-22, but Jurgen Klopp’s side were pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City before going on to suffer a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
What is Salah’s best finish in the Ballon d’Or?
Salah hit 31 goals for Liverpool in the 2020-21 campaign, before going on to match that return last season, and has continued to keep the Reds in the hunt for more major honours.
He was, however, to finish behind N’Golo Kante (fifth) and Cristiano Ronaldo (sixth) in the latest Ballon d’Or vote.
A fan favourite on Merseyside, who is yet to commit to a new contract beyond the summer of 2023, has failed to finish inside the top three of any Golden Ball poll.
He had to settle for sixth spot in 2018, despite hitting 44 goals during his debut season at Anfield, while a personal best was set in 2019 when claiming a fifth-place ranking.
Salah has enjoyed another productive year at club level, but is not expected to break his Ballon d’Or duck in 2022.
That is because Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema remains a strong favourite to claim that crown in October after registering 44 goals for the Blancos in 2021-22 while helping them to La Liga and Champions League triumphs.