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Comedian John Oliver: Mohamed Salah is better human being than soccer player

By
Connor Grott
Mohamed Salah (R) was named to TIME's list of the 100 most influential people in 2019. File Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE
Mohamed Salah (R) was named to TIME's list of the 100 most influential people in 2019. File Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE

April 17 (UPI) -- Comedian and die-hard Liverpool fan John Oliver has grown fond of Liverpool star Mohamed Salah since the player's transfer from Roma to the English Premier League club in 2017.

Salah was one of six TIME 100 cover stars, the magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people. Oliver, the host of HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, wrote a piece on Salah and praised his abilities on and off the field.

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"Mo Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he's one of the best football players in the world," Oliver wrote Wednesday. "You'd be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete in any sport less affected by their success or status than Mo, which is incredible because I can't imagine the kind of pressure that comes with the intensity of adoration he receives."

Salah's popularity surged last year when he scored 44 goals in a breakthrough 2017-18 campaign. He guided Liverpool to the Champions League final in the same year. In 96 games, he has scored 66 goals.

Salah, a native of Egypt, is adored in his country, and former Egyptian player Mido told CNN last year that Salah is the greatest player the country has ever had.

"Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn't taking any of this too seriously. As a footballer, he plays with an infectious joy. I've always wondered what it would feel like to be able to play as well as him, and watching his face light up after he does something incredible, you get the reassuring sense that it's exactly as fun as you'd want it to be.

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"I absolutely love him."

Liverpool played Porto in the Champions League quarterfinals Wednesday and earned a 4-1 win. Salah scored one goal and led his club back to the UCL semifinals for the second consecutive year.

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