Mohamed Zidan was once the face of Egyptian football and says Jurgen Klopp told him “100 times” at Borussia Dortmund that he was a better player than Mohamed Salah.
The former frontman was thought to have the potential to scale such heights.
He enjoyed a productive career in Europe, representing the likes of Midtylland, Mainz, Hamburg and Dortmund.
Zidan also took in 44 appearances for his country and was often the go-to man for the Pharaohs.
Salah now shoulders that responsibility, having become a global star while on the books at Liverpool, but was not always held in such high regard.
Klopp is benefitting from his considerable talent at present, but he was also a big fan of another Egyptian during his days in charge of Dortmund.
Zidan told ON Sport: “Klopp told me that I was better than Salah 100 hundred times but I needed to be more professional.
“Klopp said to me that I have a great talent and skills but I need to concentrate more. If I did this I could be one of the best players in the world".
That was always the issue for Zidan, who concedes that he lacked the commitment of Salah and modern day icons such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He added: “I had to be more dedicated to training and be more professional to reach Salah’s level in the past.
“Salah is more professional than me and more dedicated to football like Ronaldo and Messi.”
While Zidan may not have savoured the success being enjoyed by Salah, he is delighted to see a fellow countryman thriving on the grandest of stages.
He told Goal back in November 2018: “He’s representing Egyptians very well in England and Liverpool. He’s doing very good and we all support him always.
“We all have his back and we always pray for him and always follow him because he is representing us as Egyptians and as Arabs.
“He’s a good example, as we were before – me and other Egyptian colleagues who played in Europe, like Mido, Ahmed Hassan and many other players who played in top leagues.
“Now Mo Salah is continuing the legacy of Egyptian players in Europe to make the Egyptian kids keep dreaming, because he’s one of us.
“Today is Mo Salah time, it is going very well, he is giving hope to all Egyptians and then in the future it will be other kids from Egypt that will play in Europe.”