Mohamed Salah doesn’t need much introduction, he’s had another outstanding year at Liverpool – is he your Fans’ Footballer of the Year for a second successive year
Different people consider different criteria when they are voting for individual awards.
Has he or she helped win anything for his or her club?
How many goals/assists/tackles/clean sheets has he or she registered?
How consistent has he or she been over an extended period of time?
Is his or her name Lionel Messi?
When the Football Writers Association (FWA) gave their award for the 2020/21 season to Ruben Dias, it was, presumably, on the basis of his immense contribution to a title-winning campaign.
The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) gave theirs to Kevin de Bruyne, presumably on the basis of his consistent excellence over several seasons.
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This year’s Ballon D’Or voters should have given their award to Robert Lewandowski, on the basis of his phenomenal stats.
Instead, they went with the last of the criteria listed above.
Me? I would rather prioritise another criteria.
Call it the bums-off-seats clause, the second-take stipulation. You know, when you have to watch something again – and, possibly, again – to convince yourself it just happened.
When you think you have just watched something, the likes of which you have rarely seen before.
Is Mohamed Salah your footballer of the year? Have your say in the comments
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One such moment came courtesy of Mohamed Salah at Vicarage Road in mid-October when, extricating himself from a swarm of Hornets, he produced THAT goal against Watford.
And it was not the only instance of Mo’s mesmeric brilliance in 2021.
That is why he is my Footballer of the Year 2021.
As it happens, Salah has the figures to make an out-and-out case for coming out on top.
Across all club competitions this year, he has scored 31 goals in 46 appearances and made nine assists.
Very decent statistics.
But as usual, the statistics do not tell half the tale.
Salah, pretty much as he has done from the moment he arrived at Anfield, consistently caused havoc in 2021.
I watched him have to settle for one assist in a recent 4-0 win over Southampton but he scared the Saints defence out of its skin.
And that is routine for a player who appears to have become stronger, more skilful and more lethal as he aged.
Of course, he did not have any team medals to brandish at the end of the 20/21 season, unlike very worthy contenders for individual accolades from the Etihad and from Stamford Bridge.
But that should not always be a prerequisite where it comes to choosing individual award-winners.
Famously, at the end of Manchester United’s treble-winning season of 1998-99, the FWA and PFA gave their honours to David Ginola – according to a wonderfully flabbergasted Sir Alex Ferguson, ‘for one ****ing goal against Barnsley’.
Funny. Only it was not ‘for one ‘***ing goal against Barnsley’. It was for playing the game with a flamboyance that got you out of your seat, that made you have that second take.
That is what Salah has done throughout this year, that is what he has done throughout his Liverpool career.
And that is why he is my Footballer of 2021.