Fifa Club World Cup: Al Ahly show ‘Salah is not a one off’ – Mascherano

The former Argentina international has praised the impressive display of the Egyptian club at the global tournament

Former Liverpool and Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has hailed the performance of Al Ahly at the Club World Cup in Qatar.

The African champions started the global tournament on an impressive note, securing victory over Qatari side Al Duhail.

The Egyptian side then suffered a 2-0 defeat against Uefa Champions League winners Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the competition on Monday.

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The Red Devils will now square off against Copa Libertadores side Palmeiras in the third-place match on Thursday.

The former Argentina midfielder has showered encomium on Al Ahly for their performances in the competition so far and lauded the developmental programme of the Egypt Football Federation, which also produced Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

“They [Al Ahly in their Club World Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich] left a very positive impression on how Egyptian football has evolved in recent years,” Mascherano said, as per BBC Sport.

“And also how a world-class player, such as Mohamed Salah, has taken Egyptian football to another level.

“Watching Al Ahly shows that Salah is not a one-off, but rather proof of the good work done by Egyptian football when it comes to developing players and being more competitive. And they will surely continue in this way over the coming years.”

Former Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar has also praised the display of the nine-time African champions against Bayern Munich and expects a tough clash when Al Ahly take on Palmeiras.

“We were able to watch a brave team play against Bayern Munich creating opportunities, mainly with the counter-attack,”  Cesar said.

“Bayern Munich are one of the best teams in the world, and maybe the best at present. You can be sure also that Palmeiras will work hard to try to win that third place – without a doubt. They have all that is needed to play a great game.

“I was talking the other day with Kaka that we felt admiration towards Egyptian teams. We had the chance of playing against the Egypt national team back in 2009 during the Fifa Confederations Cup [with Brazil] and we were greatly surprised.

“Egyptian football has evolved greatly – the same way with other football teams around the world. And, in turn, that generates more passion for soccer globally.”

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