Mohamed Salah is a “great player” but remains far from the rarefied air of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, according to Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos.
Salah’s playing style has been compared to Messi and he will have the chance to measure himself against the Barcelona star’s long-time rival Ronaldo when Liverpool meet Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.
The free-scoring Egypt international has been the driving force behind the Reds’ unexpected run to Kiev, netting 10 goals since the beginning of the group stage in an extension of his Premier League Golden Boot-winning form.
Madrid captain Ramos has been impressed by those returns but says it is wrong to suggest he is closing in on two players who have shared the Ballon d’Or for a decade.
“To compare players with Cristiano, Messi… they’re in a different orbit, a different stratosphere,” Ramos said.
“It’s obvious Salah is a great player. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, if they want to compare to Cristiano they can.
“[Salah has] got another chance to show what he can do tomorrow and he has a lot of seasons ahead to show he is as good as Cristiano and Messi.”
Salah is expected to again line up alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in a fleet-footed front three that has proved instrumental in firing Liverpool back to European football’s biggest stage.
Ramos, however, insists Liverpool are a fine team beyond just the attacking trio, which would make a third successive Champions League triumph all the sweeter.
“Playing against great teams makes victory more valuable,” he said.
“We have eliminated great teams like Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich and now we need to finish the job.
“It’s not just three players, [Liverpool are] an entire team who know how to suffer and survive during games, dig deep.
“It doesn’t really bother us, the team that is in fashion or that is being talked about the most. Whatever praise or criticism we receive doesn’t really matter.”