Mohammed Salah will be sidelined for no more than three weeks with the shoulder injury he sustained during Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has confirmed.
Salah’s participation at Russia 2018 was thrown into doubt when he left the field in tears after half an hour of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat in Kiev, having tangled with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos before landing heavily on the turf.
After the match, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told reporters he felt the Premier League Golden Boot winner may struggle to recover in time for the tournament, but Salah later tweeted to say he was “confident” of being ready.
On Wednesday, the EFA issued a statement detailing how its president Hani Abu Reda, head coach Hector Cuper and national team doctor Mohamed Abu El-Ela travelled to Valencia to observe Salah’s treatment and rehabilitation in the Spanish city.
The statement described the 25-year-old as having a “determination” to link up with his international team-mates and added: “For his part, Mohamed Abu El-Ela [said] that the period of absence of Salah due to injury will not exceed three weeks.”
Egypt play their opening match in Group A against Uruguay in Ekaterinburg on June 15 – exactly three weeks on from Liverpool’s Champions League final loss.
It means Salah is still in a race against time to be ready for the tournament but veteran coach Cuper is keen for the saga not to derail his team’s preparations for a round-robin assignment that also features matches against hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia.
“[After] Salah’s injury I still have the same hopes and aspirations. I can never give up,” he told a news conference at Egypt’s pre-tournament training base in Bergamo, Italy.
“Injuries happen in football but, with our enthusiasm and ambition as it is, we have confidence in our ability to overcome any difficulties we face.
“Certainly Salah’s injury was the most important recent event.”
Salah scored 44 goals in a spectacular debut season for Liverpool following his £36.9million switch from Roma last year, while his late penalty in October sealed a 2-1 win over Congo and Egypt’s first qualification for the World Cup since 1990.
Ramos’ role in his injury has caused a sustained furore, despite no foul being awarded for the incident during the final.
An online petition calling for UEFA and FIFA to take action against the Spain defender passed 500,000 signatures on Wednesday.