The importance of Mohamed Salah to most Egyptians is that he does not even have to perform at his best in order to attract their collective support. For the Egyptians, the fans’ encouragement to Salah goes beyond the reality of his performance; The goodness of the “idea” is more important than the goodness of the “man.”

– Tom Goodyear, “Football Paradise”, October 2017.

This is the magnitude of the crisis that we are trying to dismantle, whether we like it or not, we are facing an exceptional case in the history of Egyptian football, or it was like that a few years ago.

Mohamed Salah .. “Our son is a hero”

Mohamed Salah

We have a footballer, who has achieved what none of his compatriots have achieved before, and therefore the new case has gained an extraordinariness, whether it was through unconditional support, or the categorical rejection of a man who was praised disproportionately to his true potential at the time.

Despite the Egyptian domination of the African Cup of Nations, Egypt has never produced an impressive and exciting player in one of the biggest leagues in Europe, for example; Mido almost became that player, but he fell mentally by his own admission, while Ahmed Hassan, Hani Ramzy and Mohamed Zidane had wonderful European periods, but Mohamed Salah, was the man who was able to get the Egyptian football player out of the mold of “honorable representation” and put him on a table. “The best in the world” without anyone feeling embarrassed about it.

Overnight, Salah became a national hero, and to be precise, we don’t know if he wanted to become a hero and not just a football player, and to be more precise, the Egyptian fans may have contributed to this situation without knowing it.

Psychology tells us that, as humans, we like to weave our superheroes, perhaps from the moment we’re born, according to Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist. Such stories about superheroes help us overcome adversity in our lives, giving us meaning to loss and trauma. , and turn them into strengths that can be used for a good purpose.

In fact, this may be a logical explanation for the exceptional state of support that Mohamed Salah enjoys from the Egyptian public, because he gave his supporters a comfortable feeling about how a superhero could deal with his ordinary problems; He’s been on the Chelsea bench for a year, not to mention that his career has given the same category a sense that – despite his flaws – he makes the right decisions most of the time.

The global fan phenomenon

Mohamed Salah

In the 2018 Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, Spanish international Sergio Ramos threw Mohamed Salah to the ground, causing a dislocated shoulder, preventing him from completing the match, and even affecting his level in the 2018 World Cup that was held in Russia about two months after this shot.

At this moment, the Egyptian street was divided into two factions, the first and largest number was discontented with the Spanish international, and the remaining few were those who found in the injury of the Liverpool star that night a way – even if it was not legitimate – for Real Madrid to win the Champions League title, regardless of Your own view of the morality of the second tranche, we must ask a question; Is there anything that prevents an Egyptian from encouraging Real Madrid against Liverpool (for which Salah plays)?

In fact, we have to start with axioms, encouragement itself is an emotional behavior, it cannot be logical, therefore, the above question will not help us reach any convincing answer, on the contrary, to put it in this form, makes us go around in a vicious circle endlessly.

So, the most important question is; Is when encouragement acquired a universal tint? A fan – from any country – became a true fan of a team thousands of miles away from his home.

Since football is the most popular sport in the world, thanks to technological progress, media and globalization, the ability of professional football clubs has expanded to reach new markets, and accordingly; Fans around the world have enjoyed unprecedented access to foreign leagues allowing them to form connections with teams and players around the world, regardless of their geographical location.

for example; Manchester United doubled its global fan base to 659 million during the 5-year period, from 2013 to 2018, and most importantly; Half of this base is from Asia, compared to a fan base of 90 million in Europe. During the same period, Real Madrid collected 60% of its commercial revenue from international markets, an increase of 600% over its revenue from the international market in 2013.

From here we can deduce the first logical answer. The border barrier is no longer an obstacle to encouraging any team. Rather, the fan of the current era sometimes pays large sums of money to support the foreign team that supports him, whether his ranks include a representative of his country or not, and this is the point.

The last question..a traitor or not?

Recently, there have been calls for the necessity of encouraging Mohamed Salah against Real Madrid in the 2022 Champions League final, and some did not even find it embarrassing to describe opponents of this idea as traitors.

And so that we do not bury our heads in the sand, sports cannot be separated from nationalism, and the impact of crowning a player belonging to a country with such a title on his people represents, however, on the other hand, we have a class that does not recognize such slogans, but adopts other slogans, no less rubbery. , Which is loyalty to the club’s motto, which one is correct?

A new confusing question, which requires us to dissect the categories of football fans in order to arrive at an answer. In short, the last 15 years have brought a clear shift in the form of football promotion or sports in general, where the (real / plastic) fan struggle has risen to the surface.

The characteristics of a true fan are well known and understood to a large extent, even if they seem naive at times, but the most important thing in the case of Mohamed Salah is the concept of a plastic fan, who can be defined as a person who follows a specific player and supports him, regardless of the fan’s association with this club, and so as not to misunderstand us, There is nothing wrong with that, because the idea itself is as old as football.

Here, we have to apologize for not reaching a real answer. If an Egyptian fan decides to support Liverpool in support of Mohamed Salah, it is a legitimate right for him, but if another decides to support Real Madrid against his cousin, there is nothing wrong with that.. Why? Because each side sees those who support it as a real extension of it, happy for its joy, and sad for its sadness, a naive idea? Maybe, but it’s the truth.

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