Mohamed Salah was crowned the 2017 CAF African Player of the Year on Thursday (5 January) night in Ghana ahead of Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
The Egyptian was delighted to win the award and dedicated it to all the kids in Africa and Egypt, urging them to never stop dreaming. Salah became the first Egyptian to win the award in 34 years following his compatriot and Al Ahly legend Mahmoud El-Khatib's win in 1983.
The Liverpool midfielder made it clear that he will be delighted if he continues to win this award year after year. The CAF award comes just less than a month after Salah was crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year.
The 25-year-old midfielder has had a phenomenal 2017 for both club and country. In the 60 games he played in 2017, he has been involved directly in 58 goals — 39 goals and 19 assists. Salah played a key role as he helped his team first to the finals of the 2017 African Cup of Nations and then scored five goals in six games to help Egypt qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia for the first time since 1990.
On the domestic front, he helped AS Roma finish second in the league in the 2016/17 campaign by scoring 19 goals and assisting 15 in 41 games across all competitions, following which he earned himself a £35m ($47m) move to Liverpool last summer. Salah wasted no time in establishing himself in the Premier League as he has already amassed 23 goals and eight assists in 29 games in all competitions.
"It's an honour to be nominated and to be between these two great players tonight. Winning this award is a dream come true. 2017 was an unbelievable year for me," Salah said after being presented the award, as quoted by Egyptian website King Fut.
"I had unbelievable moments as Egypt reached the World Cup for the first time since 28 years. I had wonderful moments at Roma and Liverpool.
"I want to thank my family and all my teammates who supported me. I want to dedicate this award to all the kids in Africa and Egypt and tell them never stop dreaming and never stop believing," he added.
"If I can win this award twice, three, four times and even 20 times, I want to win it," the former Basel winger said.