On Premier League matchday 4, Salah missed delivering a pass to teammate Sadio Mane that would’ve likely led to an easy goal. Mane erupted. Talking heads had their hot takes. And that should’ve been that.
But the “Mo Salah is selfish!” story still has legs. Time to bury this one.
Selfish Salah sure does like to pass
While this article is by no means a “Salah vs Mane” piece — the whole “Salah is selfish” narrative started because of Sadio’s animated displeasure against his Egyptian teammate for failing to set him up with an easy goal.
While there is some validity in that one singular incident, let’s consider the following larger data points for perspective:
- 2019 assists to date: Salah 2, Mane 1
- 2018-19 assists: Salah 8, Mane 1
- 2017-18 assists: Salah 10, Mane 7
- 2016-17 assists: Salah 11 (with Roma), Mane 5
In the last full three season, Salah has tallied 16 more assists than, um, unselfish Mane.
But wait, there’s more!
Salah also has delivered more key passes than Mane the last three seasons. A key pass is the final pass or pass-cum-shot leading to the recipient taking a shot (regardless of the outcome of said shot).
Here are Salah vs Mane’s key passes (domestic play only) going back to 2016-17.
But yeah, Salah is more selfish.
Remember last year when Salah gave up a penalty kick to Roberto Firmino so his Brazilian teammate could record a hat-trick? It almost made Jurgen Klopp cry because it was such an unselfish gesture. Salah would’ve secured sole possession of the Golden Boot last season had he taken and converted that penalty, by the way.
Time to end this moronic narrative
The reality is, Salah gets more unjust criticism than any elite player in Europe (save for maybe Raheem Sterling). From diving to being selfish to being a flash in the pan, all Salah has done is produced at uber-elite levels for four season now.
Also and somewhat overlooked, don’t you want your top goal scorer to be just a little bit selfish? Cristiano Ronaldo is accused of a lot of bad things — a lot of very, very bad things –but seldom do you hear him being labeled as selfish. He’s practically deified for how he goals to goal. His assist totals the past three full domestic seasons (8 with Juventus, and 5 and 6 his last two seasons with Real Madrid) also pale in comparison to Salah.
But Salah is selfish.
UPDATE: Good to hear Robbie Fowler agrees.