CAIRO (AP) — Mohamed Salah, Egypt’s beloved striker, greeted an adoring crowd who turned up at his doorstep after his Cairo address was leaked on Facebook.
The Muslim world’s most popular soccer player showed no sign of anger as he received fans Thursday night, posing for photos and signing autographs, according to media reports. Photos circulated online showed dozens of fans appearing outside Salah’s home after his arrival with Egypt’s national team from Russia following a disappointing World Cup showing.
The state-run Al Ahram newspaper reported the number of fans kept increasing, reaching the hundreds, and police had to intervene to disperse the crowds.
Egypt lost all three of its matches in the World Cup against Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Salah missed the opening match with Uruguay because of a shoulder injury during the Champions League Final. He scored two goals, one each in matches against Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Recent reports that Salah is considering retiring from international play emerged, sparking controversy. Salah was said to have been angry about being used as a political symbol while the World Cup squad was based in Chechnya.
Rather than accuse him of a lack of patriotism, many Egyptians instead supported him, sending out thousands of tweets and posts on social media.
On Friday, fans gathered again at the Cairo airport to greet the 26-year-old Salah before he set off for Lebanon with his wife.
He is expected to join his Liverpool team in the coming weeks.