CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Salah deserves Ballon d'Or if Liverpool beat Real Madrid to win Champions League - Owen

Mohamed Salah will deserve the Ballon d'Or if he can inspire Liverpool to Champions League glory, according to Michael Owen.

0
Salah deserves Ballon d'Or if Liverpool win Champions League – Owen

Former Liverpool star Michael Owen has tipped Mohamed Salah for the 2018 Ballon d'Or if Jürgen Klopp's side win the Champions League final.

Egypt international Salah has enjoyed a spectacular first season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, including 11 in 14 appearances in European competition.

He became the first player to score at least 32 goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign, winning the Golden Boot in the process, and was rewarded for his form with the PFA Players' Player of the Year award and the FWA Footballer of the Year prize.

"It just depends on what medals Sahal wins at the end of the season..."

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi have shared the Ballon d'Or between them each year since 2007, but Owen believes Salah could be the man to end the duopoly.

Asked if Salah has a chance of winning the prize, Owen, speaking courtesy of Sports Tonight/Dubai Eye 103.8, told Omnisport: "Absolutely. I mean, the way he's playing, let's put it this way: he's got the ability, and he deserves to win it.

"It just depends on what medals he wins at the end of the season. You can have a great season [but] if you win nothing, then you're very unlikely. You need a goodwill cup or to win the Champions League.

"But if Liverpool win the Champions League, he'd have a right chance I think. Because he's done it for Egypt, he's had a good year for his national team and of course he's been sensational for Liverpool as well."

The year 2007 is also the last time Liverpool contested a Champions League final, when they lost 2-1 to AC Milan.

Champions League final "a toss of a coin", says Owen

They meet back-to-back winners Madrid in Saturday's showdown in Kiev, having overcome Porto, Manchester City and Roma across three thrilling knockout ties this season.

Owen is wary of the experience of Madrid, another of his old clubs, but he thinks Liverpool's style of play makes them play better against stronger opposition.

"I find it really hard to predict," he said. "I know people will have Real Madrid down as favourites but I think it is a toss of a coin. I just think Liverpool are so perfectly shaped for knockout football, one-off football, particularly against good teams.

"Liverpool have shown why they haven't won the league this year is not because of how they do against the big boys, it's breaking down defences that just sit back.

Owen: Real "masters of winning", but no-one better than Reds on their day

"Real Madrid can play in any way, really. They can beat a team five, six-nil twice quite easily. They're not going to do that to Liverpool but they can also grind out a result.

"They are the masters of winning. They understand how to win, they're experienced. Liverpool are probably more one-dimensional, in terms of they attack, and they attack, and that's pretty much what they do. 

"But I keep going back to it: one-off games, against good teams, I don't think there's a better team in the world of football than Liverpool."