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Champions League

Real Madrid vs Liverpool | Champions League: Salah: Ramos? That game is in the past, so I don’t think about it


Mohamed Salah has insisted he’s concentrating on his own team, rather than Sergio Ramos, when Liverpool face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter finals next week.

During the last meeting between the two sides, the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev, Salah was forced off with a shoulder injury after a challenge from the Real Madrid captain in the first half.

Ahead of a renewal of this rivalry in this season’s last eight, Salah sat down with MARCA to discuss the tie, that Ramos incident, Eden Hazard and plenty more besides.

Question: What first came to mind when you saw who Liverpool had drawn in the Champions League quarter finals?

Answer: I thought about how good it would be if we got through to the semi finals.

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Did you want to draw Real Madrid at this stage?

Well, I didn’t have a preference. It’s the quarter finals – I didn’t care one way or the other.

Is it better to face Real Madrid now than in the final?

It doesn’t matter to me. We’re in the quarter finals – all the teams are top-class, very good.

Do you have special motivation to get revenge for Kiev?

Let’s just say that I have special motivation to win the tie and go through to the semi finals. What’s going to happen now isn’t going to change the result of the final in Kiev. That’s in the past.

And is there a special motivation to face Sergio Ramos again?

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[Laughs] That game is in the past, so I don’t think about it. I’m thinking about the team. Everyone is focused on their team and everyone wants to win… that’s it.

What has changed at Liverpool since the 2018 final?

Since then, we’ve won the Premier League and the Champions League. We’re winners. That’s a big change.

That Real Madrid team had Cristiano Ronaldo, Keylor Navas, Gareth Bale… is this season’s team worse than that one?

It’s different. They’ve lost some great players, like Cristiano Ronaldo – the best in the club’s history, someone that scored so many goals. At the same time, they’ve signed [Eden] Hazard. Eden’s been unlucky, he’s been injured… But it’s a different team.

This team is in the quarter finals, it has great players, although they’ve lost Ronaldo’s goals… I can’t say which is better. All I can say is that they’re in the quarters now, that I’m sure they’re prepared and… that we have to be ready to face them.

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Who do you think is the favourite to go through?

I think we’re both strong. Both teams have won their last two games in the Champions League. Both teams are prepared. It’s a special competition and both teams are doing well in it.

What about Real Madrid worries you the most?

That they can win the Champions League. They do very well in this competition – they’ve won it many times, they’ve won four in the last 10 seasons. They’re a team that really likes the Champions League.

Which Real Madrid player do you particularly like?

I can’t pick one… the majority of them are great players. Hazard. I have a great relationship with him, he did very well at Chelsea, but he’s not getting any luck at the moment. Luka [Modric]. I also get on really well with him. We’ve met each other a few times. I can’t pick one because they’re top players and it’s a top club.

You’ve become one of the best goalscorers in the world. Here in Spain, we debate over whether Vinicius Junior can end up scoring goals or not. What was it like for you? Were you a natural finisher or did you work on it?

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I don’t think you have to worry about him (Vinicius). I wasn’t a natural goalscorer, but I had to work really hard. I remember when I was at Basel and couldn’t score many goals. Then I went to Chelsea, Fiorentina, Roma… I did a lot of work with [Luciano] Spalletti [at Roma]. Almost every day after training, he would call me over and we would be on the pitch alone and we’d just do shooting, shooting, shooting.

I also built a pitch in my garden at home to work on my finishing. [Vinicius] just needs to keep working, working, working and it will come. With the opportunities he has, it has to come eventually. He just needs to work hard and it will come naturally.

Which Real Madrid player would you sign for Liverpool?

I think our team is good enough as it is and that’s it.

What do you make of Zinedine Zidane?

He’s a great coach. He’s won three Champions Leagues. He’s doing a very good job with the team. He left and he came back to help the team win trophies again. He was one of my idols when I was little. He’s doing great as a coach.

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How do you explain Liverpool’s disappointing Premier League title defence?

Lots of things happened at once. Luck hasn’t been on our side. It’s made us want to win the Champions League even more and I hope we can do it.

What’s your relationship with Jurgen Klopp like? Do you talk much?

It’s a normal relationship between two professionals. That’s how I’d describe it.

Without fans, who do you think loses out the most – Real Madrid without the Bernabeu or Liverpool without Anfield?

Anfield! I think everyone can say that. Anfield. We’ve lost a lot without our fans. I think we’re the team that suffers most without fans.

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Are you going to play in the Olympics?

Whatever happens, everyone will be in agreement – including my club.

You’ll be 29 in June. What do you hope to achieve in the rest of your career?

I hope to be doing the same thing that I’ve been doing in recent years. Winning trophies, scoring goals, helping my team win trophies… That’s the most important thing for me.

Do you see yourself at another club after four years at Liverpool? Is it time to move on?

It’s not up to me. We’ll see what happens but I prefer not to talk about that now.

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You’ve played in England and Italy. Are you keen to try out Spanish football?

I hope to be able to play for many more years. Why not? No one knows what’s going to happen in the future, so… maybe one day, yes.





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