By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah insists revenge is not on his mind ahead of his reunion with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos – the man who was responsible for the Egyptian’s first Champions League final ending in tears.
Salah was forced off after 30 minutes, with the score at 0-0, in Kiev in 2018 after being hauled to the ground by the Spain defender which resulted in a shoulder injury.
The Reds went on to lose the final 3-1, although they returned 12 months later to lift a sixth European Cup in Madrid against Tottenham with Salah opening the scoring in the final.
As the two teams prepare to face each other next Tuesday in the Champions League quarter-finals, Salah said he was not dwelling on his history with Ramos.
“That game is in the past, so I don’t think about it. I’m thinking about the team. Everyone is focused on their team and everyone wants to win… that’s it,” the 28-year-old told Marca.
“What’s going to happen now isn’t going to change the result of the final in Kiev. That’s in the past.
“Let’s just say that I have special motivation to win the tie and go through to the semi-finals.”
Salah accepts both teams have changed since 2018 and, while only two of Liverpool’s starting line-up in Ukraine have left the club, they will also be without the injured Virgil Van Dijk and Jordan Henderson.
Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real for Juventus while Gareth Bale, who came off the bench to score two decisive goals with the score at 1-1, is on loan at Tottenham.
“It’s different,” Salah said. “They’ve lost some great players, like Cristiano Ronaldo – the best in the club’s history, someone that scored so many goals.
“At the same time, they’ve signed (Eden) Hazard. Eden’s been unlucky, he’s been injured… but it’s a different team.
Believe, work hard, and it’ll happen. pic.twitter.com/F11eKYgZgK
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) June 2, 2019
“This team is in the quarter-finals, it has great players (and) although they’ve lost Ronaldo’s goals I can’t say which is better.
“Since then, we’ve won the Premier League and the Champions League. We’re winners. That’s a big change.”
Salah has frequently been linked with a move to Spain and giving a second major interview in three months to Spanish media will only increase speculation.
In December he spoke out at his unhappiness at not being made captain for the Champions League group-game dead rubber against Midtjylland, and then his reaction to being substituted in the defeat to Chelsea earlier this month led to questions being asked about his relationship with manager Jurgen Klopp.
Asked about that, he said: “It’s a normal relationship between two professionals. That’s how I’d describe it.”
On his future, Salah added: “I hope to be doing the same thing that I’ve been doing in recent years: winning trophies, scoring goals, helping my team win trophies, that’s the most important thing for me.
“It’s not up to me. We’ll see what happens but I prefer not to talk about that (a possible future move to Spain) now. I hope to be able to play for many more years. Why not?
“No-one knows what’s going to happen in the future, so maybe one day, yes.”