Mohamed Salah did not play to his best at the 2018 World Cup because he had fought with the Egyptian Football Association president over the use of his image rights, according to a former senior sporting official in the country.
Liverpool forward Salah was tipped to star at the tournament in Russia but struggled as Egypt crashed to three defeats against Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and were eliminated at the group stage.
Hazem Emam, a former member of the Egyptian FA, believes this was down to Salah falling out with the national association and its former president, Hani Abu Reeda.
Emam said the trouble began when Salah appeared in a team photo on Egypt's official plane, provided by official sponsor WE - however, the player had a sponsorship deal with a rival telecommunications company, Vodafone.
Salah's agent said they were not contacted about the use of the player's image, and the forward addressed the issue himself on Twitter, writing: "Sorry but this is a major insult. I was hoping the deal would be classier than this."
Speaking to Egyptian television channel OnTime Sports, Emam said: "Mohamed Salah had a disagreement with the former president of the federation, Hani Abu Reeda.
"We should have asked Salah before using his image on the national team's aeroplane before the World Cup, that was the beginning of the whole problem".
"This disagreement had a bad influence on Salah during the World Cup. As a result. he did not celebrate his goals".
Abu Reeda resigned after Egypt’s underwhelming showing at the 2018 World Cup, however, he is planning to run for the next election to be the president of the Egypt FA once more.
Salah endured a nightmare build-up to the tournament in Russia, his disagreement with the FA adding to his injury problems after he suffered a dislocated shoulder weeks before the competition started.
He was injured in a clash with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos during Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat in the 2018 Champions League final.
At the World Cup, Salah scored both of Egypt’s goals, but could not prevent them from losing 1-0 to Uruguay, 3-1 against hosts Russia, and a final 2-1 reverse against Saudi Arabia.
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