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The only Arab footballer who won Champions League… will Salah be next?

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He was dubbed “the golden heel”, and soon after, the expression was linked to his name. He is a reference when it comes to scoring with the heel, so he became a legend not only in Algerian football but in the Arab world too. Yes, we are talking about Rabeh Madjer, who scored one of the best goals in the history of the Champions League, if not the best.

Everyone is well aware that Madjer is the current manager of the Algerian national team. He was and still is one of the greatest footballers in Algeria's history. He was ranked as the fifth best African player in the 20th century after George Weah, Roger Milla, Abedi Pele and Lakhdar Belloumi.

In 2004, he was awarded the title of best Arab player in the 20th century and in the history of Arab football.

Rabah Madjer is not only the first Arab player to win the Champions League, he is also the only Arab who has managed to score a goal in the Champions League final.

The goal of Madjer in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1987 was one of a kind that it made him a reference in this championship, becoming a recognized goal in one of the most expensive and strongest European championship.

Salah surpasses

Algeria's Rabah Madjer has topped the list of Arab top scorers in the Champions League for three decades with 11 goals. Mohammed Salah, the Egyptian national, haw now succeeded in surpassing everyone with 13 goals. He has scored two goals in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goal. (Reuters)
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goal. (Reuters)



Salah has been successful in toppling Madjer’s historic achievement in terms of the number of goals, which the Algerian has kept for many years, but the question now remains: Can Salah follow on the footsteps of Madjer and win the Champions League this season?

Salah is a stone’s throw from the achievement of the legendary Rabah Madjer.

‘Source of pride for all the Arabs’

On the ambitious young man, Madjer told al Arabiya.net: “He is a source of pride not just for Egypt but for all the Arabs,” expressing his joy at what Salah has been able to achieve so far, wishing him the same luck in winning the title just as he did in 1987.

Madjer stated: “Mohammed Salah is leading an excellent and honorable path; he has exquisite skills that has made it possible for him to give so much for European football.”

The legendary Algerian player wishes that the 1987 scenario will repeat itself and Salah can achieve what he achieved at the time making him the second Arab to win this prestigious title, confirming that he can win the award of the best player in the world if he wins the Champions League.

He continued saying: “He has what it takes to win the title, otherwise he would not have reached that level.”

Madjer also advised the Egyptian star to always get in the game with high spirits.

Madjer considers that Mohamed Salah, along with Algerian player Riyad Mahrez who has already won the title of best player in the English Premier League last season, as well as Moroccan Medhi Benatia, who played the Champions League final with Juventus last year, as ambassadors of Arab football in Europe.

Madjer recalled his goal which later became a trademark, when the Arab nation experienced a unique event in 1987 when he led Porto to win the Champions League, in an unprecedented event which was never accomplished by an Arab player before.

Madjer scored three goals in the league with Porto, the most important of which and best remembered in the history of the competition, was his goal in the final game which was marked by his heel.

Philanthropic side

The bravery, football capacity and audacity of the player did not overshadow his humanistic side. After his retirement, he auctioned his sneakers from his time in Porto and donated the full revenue to flood victims in Algeria.

Madjer also participated in the Satok Festival for Orphans in Cairo, Egypt, in September 2015.

In 2014, he participated in the charity television program "The Victorious" with Diego Maradona and Michel Salgado, a show that has rallied many football talents who enter into many competitions in the show which has a charitable nature.

Titles

Madjer won several titles, both locally and nationally, as well as continental too, not to mention internationally. The following are the most notable of his achievements:

  • Algeria's top scorer in the World Cup.
  • The Champions League scorer in 1988.
  • Winner of the African Golden Ball in 1987.
  • The fifth best African player of the 20th century.
  • The best Arab player of the 20th century.
  • The best Algerian player of the 20th century with Lakhdar Belloumi., according to Algerian newspaper Al-Hadaf (2009).
  • United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.
  • Medal of Merit from the Algerian Football Federation.
  • Golden Foot Award in Monaco 2011.