Following his superb showing against his former club in the Champions League, with two goals and two assists helping Liverpool secure a 5-2 home victory in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier cup competition, Salah has also been thrown into the discussion for the Ballon d’Or, with the Egypt star now compared alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best players in the world.
Salah’s rise to prominence has led to criticism of Mourinho, the manager of Chelsea when he was first shipped out of Stamford Bridge, on a loan deal to Fiorentina in 2015.
Mourinho has been criticised for selling three Chelsea talents who are now three of the best players in England – Salah, Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City, and Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku – but he has absolved himself of the blame concerning Salah’s sale.
“People say that I was the one that sold Salah and it is the opposite,” Mourinho told ESPN Brazil.
“I bought Salah.
“It is the opposite. I was the one that bought Salah. I was the one that told Chelsea to buy Salah. It was with me in charge that Salah came to Chelsea. But he came as a young kid, physically he was not ready, mentally he was not ready, socially and culturally he was lost and everything was tough for him.
“We decided to put him on loan and he asked for that as well. He wanted to play more minutes, to mature, he wanted to go and we sent him on loan to Fiorentina, and at Fiorentina he started to mature.
“Chelsea decided to sell him, OK?
“And when they say that I was the one that sold him it is a lie. I bought him. I agreed to send him on loan, I thought it was necessary, I thought that Chelsea had wingers… Some of them are still there like Willian, [Eden] Hazard and all those players already in a different level.
“So the decision to send him on loan was a decision we made collectively, but after that, the decision to sell him and to use that money to buy another player wasn’t mine.”
Though it may seem Mourinho is absolving himself of blame for his own sake, he is entirely correct.
Salah was loaned to Fiorentina and Roma during the Portuguese’s stay at Stamford Bridge, but he was sacked by Chelsea in December 2015 – a full eight months before Salah left the Blues for good.