Mo Salah warned “serious problems” at Liverpool will cost him Ballon d’Or

German football icon Lothar Matthaus believes Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will be denied the Ballon d’Or because he had “serious problems” earlier this year.

The ex-Bayern Munich star reckons Chelsea ace Jorginho deserves the prestigious award more than Salah for winning the Champions League and Euro 2020 with Italy.

Writing for Sky via HITC, Matthaus admitted: “What Klopp’s superstar Salah has been delivering for a few months is of course absolutely world-class.

“It is quite possible that this will help him a lot in his choice of world footballer. But that was not the case for the whole year. In the spring, he and Liverpool had serious problems.”

Salah scored just four goals in the first 12 Premier League games of 2021 as Liverpool’s title defence collapsed following six consecutive home defeats.

Since then, however, the Egyptian has been in sensational form for his club, finding the back of the net 15 times in his last 19 Premier League outings.

Although Salah struggled at the beginning of the calendar year, he still scored 31 goals in all competitions last term and was just one away from winning the Premier League Golden Boot.

Despite this, Matthaus believes Jorginho – who was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in August – is more deserving of the Ballon d’Or.

Luka Modric is the only recognised central midfielder to win the Ballon d’Or since Matthaus picked up the award in 1990.

Of all the players, though, the German is hoping Robert Lewandowski can finally win the illustrious prize after being controversially denied last year.

France Football cancelled the 2020 Ballon d’Or due to the coronavirus pandemic, even though the prolific Bayern striker was the clear favourite.

Lionel Messi is tipped to win a record seventh crown at the awards ceremony in Paris on November 29 after leading Argentina to the Copa America title.

Matthaus added: “Jorginho from Chelsea has been convincing for almost the entire last season and played a key role in winning the Champions League and the European Championship with Italy.

“He’s not as spectacular as Lewandowski, whom I personally keep my fingers crossed for the most. This time, however, he lacks the international title.

“Messi won the Copa America with Argentina, but achieved nothing great with Barcelona. There are no top favourites.”

Other candidates on the 30-man longlist include Karim Benzema, Phil Foden, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku and N’Golo Kante.

One glaring omission was Chelsea and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who was pivotal to the Blues’ Champions League success.

His club team-mate Antonio Rudiger was stunned by the decision, asking the press: “Someone explain to me why he’s not nominated for the Ballon d’Or?”

While fellow Chelsea star Thiago Silva also queried: “He won the Champions League as one of the best goalkeepers? Left off the list for the Ballon d’Or?”

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