Mohamed Salah is widely regarded as one of the best players in Europe today, but the Egyptian superstar once made such a bad first impression on the training ground that one of his former clubs thought he had a twin brother.
Having excelled in his homeland with El Mokawloon, Salah made his first strides in Europe by moving to Swiss club FC Basel, where he laid the foundation for a highly successful career.
In an interview with SPOX, former Basel manager Heiko Vogel has now revealed that, while he always thought Salah was a quality player, things did not initially go as planned when he joined the club.
“It was always clear to me that he is an outstanding player, but whether he had the mentality? I didn’t know that exactly,” Vogel said.
“Gegge (Heitz) and I told him: ‘Listen, just train as you like – we’ve already made our decision anyway’. Then he trained on the first day; everyone watched the session and we wondered if he might have a twin brother!”
Fortunately for Basel and Salah, things improved in the subsequent training sessions, convincing Vogel the Egyptian was destined for greatness.
“The second day was a bit better, but not good. Gegge and I had already been talking him up for the tiniest things, saying stuff like: ‘Did you see that pass?’” Vogel added.
“And then came the third day. It was then that he destroyed everything, he was really unstoppable… I have rarely seen such a dominant appearance in two-on-five (on that third day). It was absolutely extraordinary.”
Salah spent two seasons with Basel, scoring 20 goals in 79 appearances, before going on to join Premier League side Chelsea. After subsequent spells with Fiorentina and Roma, he signed for Liverpool in 2017.