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Mo Salah hints at international retirement after double Egypt blow

Mohamed Salah has hinted that he could retire from Egypt duty after their loss in the Africa Cup of Nations final and failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Salah missed a decisive spot-kick as Egypt lost to Senegal in their World Cup playoff on Tuesday night, in a controversial end to their qualifiers.

The Egyptian FA raised accusations of racism for their treatment in Diamniadio, while penalty takers were distracted by a number of laser pens being aimed at their faces during the shootout.

Defeat in the playoff – which saw Sadio Mane book his place at Qatar 2022 – follows another loss to Senegal in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in February.

It serves as a double blow to the world’s best player, and according to Egyptian outlet KingFut, in a speech after the loss on Tuesday, Salah suggested he could retire from international duty.

“There’s not much I can say, but it was a privilege to play alongside you, whether I’ll be here or not afterwards,” he said.

Salah Egypt Senegal

It is reported that sports minister Ashraf Sobhi then told Salah “you will be here,” which hints that the Egyptian FA would put pressure on their captain to continue representing his country.

As Salah continue his speech, he detailed his experience with the national team and its evolution since his debut in 2011.

“I told you before the second leg that I’m proud to play with you and you’re some of the most dedicated players I played with,” he told his team-mates.

“I played with the previous generation with Wael Gomaa and Mohamed Aboutrika, then with Abdallah El-Said and the following generation, and I can say that I’m happy with the current generation.

“I’m proud to have played with you and what happened was out of our control because they were penalty shootouts, and for the second time.”

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - Tuesday, June 19, 2018: Egypt's Mohamed Salah during the pre-match warm-up before the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group A match between Russia and Egypt at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The next World Cup that Egypt could qualify for is in the US, Canada and Mexico in 2026, when Salah will be 34, while the forward is to celebrate his 31st birthday before the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

It stands to reason that Liverpool’s No. 11 could feel he has gone as far as he can with his national team, and a decision to retire might help prolong his playing career.

Hopefully, that remains with the Reds beyond 2023, when his current contract is set to expire.

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