Egypt and Liverpool forward, Mohamed Sallah admitted on Monday that he didnâ€™t realise his full potential while plying his skill at Chelseaâ€™s Stamford Bridge.
Speaking shortly after he was selected as the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the Year for 2017-18 on Sunday night, the free-scoring Liverpool ace said he was happy to return to show what heâ€™s capable of doing with the ball.
“I didn’t have my chance at Chelsea. It was clear I would return and show everyone my football. I think I left and came back a different person, man and player.”
“It’s an honour and especially as it’s voted by the players. I am happy and proud,” the Egypt said.
The Liverpool forward, 25, beat Kevin de Bruyne, Harry Kane, Leroy Sane, David Silva and David de Gea in the vote by his fellow players.
Manchester City’s Sane won the young player prize, while Chelsea’s Fran Kirby won the Women’s Player of the Year award.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he was “happy to have the opportunity” of being Salah’s manager and added it was an “unbelievable honour” to win the award.
“It’s been a fantastic ride but we still have games to go,” Klopp said. “But please grab the trophy and come home. We play on Tuesday!”
Former West Brom and England forward Cyrille Regis, who died in January at the age of 59, was honoured with the PFA’s merit award during the ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
Former England captain Casey Stoney, who retired from football this year, picked up the PFA Special Achievement award.
Salah has scored 31 goals in 33 Premier League games for Klopp’s free-scoring Liverpool side and leads the race for the golden boot.
The Egypt international’s 31st league goal against West Brom on Saturday took him alongside Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez, who share the record for a 38-game season.
He scored in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 aggregate victory over Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals, as well as four goals in their league victory over Watford in March.
The Â£34m summer signing from Roma, is just the fifth player to register more than 40 goal involvements in a single Premier League season (31 goals, nine assists).
Salah, 25, is the seventh different Liverpool player to win the PFA Player of the Year award after Luis Suarez (2014), Steven Gerrard (2006), John Barnes (1988), Ian Rush (1984), Kenny Dalglish (1983) and Terry McDermott (1980).