Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi have won the Ballon d’Or which recognises the best footballer in the world since 2008. This year’s Champions League final could confirm another player as the best professional in his sport during the 2017/18 season. Mo Salah has been brilliant for Liverpool and his goals and overall contribution have helped his club reach the Champions League final and a match against Real Madrid.
Ronaldo and Messi’s scoring record is sensational but they are playing with some of the best players in the world and for the two dominant teams in Spanish football. Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two richest and most prestigious clubs in Spain. They can afford to pay the highest wages and attract the best players. Scoring at almost one goal per game is phenomenal but Ronaldo and Messi have it easy compared to Salah.
The Premier League is more competitive than La Liga and just about every match is hard fought. Liverpool are probably the fourth richest club in England so will be often outbid for the best players who are attracted by the biggest wages. Salah heads into the Champions League final after becoming the first player to score 32 goals in a 38 match league campaign. If Salah scores in the Champions League final Liverpool will be in great shape to become the champions of Europe for the sixth time.
Real have won the Champions League three times in the last four years and combined with the European Cup 12 times in total. AC Milan are next in the list of multiple winners with seven titles while Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also on five wins. Liverpool would take third place alone if they lift the trophy in Kiev on the last Saturday in May. The match should produce goals so it could be a shootout between Ronaldo and Salah that the Liverpool striker can win.
Madrid can only finish second at best in La Liga while Liverpool claimed fourth place in the Premier League. Only Manchester City scored more goals and had a superior goal difference but no team in the top five conceded more goals. Liverpool have qualified for next season’s Champions League through their league position but if they win the trophy qualification for next season won’t go down to fifth place. Madrid will also get in by finishing in the top three in La Liga.
Liverpool have been more impressive than their opponents in the final during the Champions League journey. Their high tempo game disrupted Manchester City and Roma’s tactics in the home leg of the last two rounds. Real Madrid have been more functional and got the job done and are now in their 15th final. However, this could be Salah’s time and he can help Liverpool win the Champions League trophy and be identified as currently the best player in the world. The standout bet is Liverpool to win and both teams to score in an open match. first published