LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Most disrespected player in the world” – Fans baffled by Mo Salah’s latest award snub

With Mohamed Salah bizarrely omitted from the FIFA Team of the Year for 2021, despite being named third-best player in the world, fans have been left baffled.

It happens every year, but it never fails to surprise, as FIFA’s annual awards night – known as ‘The Best’ – never quite recognises the best players.

On Monday night, Robert Lewandowski was named Men’s Player of the Year ahead of both Salah (third) and Lionel Messi (second), based on votes from international managers, captains and the media.

Given Lewandowski’s form throughout 2021, it was arguably the right decision, with the Bayern Munich striker previously denied a Ballon d’Or despite his immense record.

But the announcement of FIFA’s Team of the Year was met with a baffled response by fans, with Salah left out entirely in favour of a four-man attack of Messi, Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was even given a ‘FIFA Special Award’ for some reason.

Liverpool fans are, of course, accustomed to their No. 11 being overlooked when it comes to wider recognition, but many took to social media to criticise his omission:


To Salah himself, while individual awards are a worthy acknowledgement of his efforts on the pitch, he is aware of the political nature of prizes handed down by the likes of FIFA and UEFA.

In an interview with GQ, released this month, he insisted he was “not really bothered” by outside views on his performances.

“If you asked me if this was a drive for me to be here? Yeah, of course,” he said.

“I can’t really lie and say honestly I didn’t think about it. No, I think about it. I want to be the best player in the world.

“But I will have a good life even if I don’t win [the Ballon d’Or]. My life is OK, everything is fine. Sometimes I feel it’s just politics.”