Egyptian 25-year old soccer star has informed country soccer authorities and teammates about his intention to retire from the national team after he protested against his being used by Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov to improve self-image, reports say.
Salah came under criticism by rights groups after he posed for a photo by the side of Kadyrov during the Egyptian team’s stay in Grozny, the capital of the Chechen republic. Egypt reportedly accepted an invitation by Kadryrov to stay in the Chechen capital during the World Cup tournament.
The Egyptian star who finished the 2017-2018 season in England with his club Liverpool as the best player of the league was presented Friday an honorary citizenship of Chechnya by Kadyrov, known as Vladimir Putin’s protégé and as Putin’s bridge to Gulf Arab countries.
Rights groups and western countries have accused Kadyrov and his leadership of cracking down on political opponents, discounting women and hindering rights of sexual minorities.
Salah, according to two national teammates who spoke under condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, indicated that the Liverpool striker was annoyed with a team banquet hosted by Kadyrov, who used the dinner to grant him “honorary citizenship”.
Salah according to the US media expressed his grievance after leaving Grozny for Volgograd where the Egyptians are facing this Monday Group A bottom Saudi Arabia for a meaningless fixture.
Both teams have been knocked out of the tournament in Russia.
Salah who has emerged as the greatest Arab player of all times, has seen his popularity black-spotted in Europe over his appearances with the controversial Chechen ruler.