Egyptian soccer superstar and newly minted English Premier League Golden Boot winner, Mohamed Salah, is Ramadan's breakout star.
Ahead of this year's Ramadan, Salah’s image has been printed on traditional fanous lanterns, stickers, pillows and paper cut-outs and many other items, in a bid to capitalize on his popularity.
“The Mohamed Salah lantern is the highest selling lantern this year,” shopkeeper, Essam, beamed.
Ramadan – which entails fasting, praying, abstaining from smoking and gossiping, developing empathy, and curbing negative thoughts and anger – begins Thursday and is observed over a one-month period.
“Mohamed Salah is a role model for all Egyptians at the moment,” a second shopper, Omnia, added. “All of Egypt loves Mo’ Salah, as they call him in England.”
Salah has become a significant figure in Islam openly displaying his emotional sentiments during celebratory moments on the soccer field. The Egyptian routinely raises his hands to the sky in supplication, kneeling and prostrating in front of cheering audiences as Muslims do during the five obligatory daily prayers.
During the recent Egyptian presidential election, over one million people wrote in Salah’s name on the ballot. The soccer player is revered, in his homeland and viewed as a national hero, since scoring the goal that helped Egypt qualify for its first World Cup in 28 years.
The Liverpool 'sniper' has netted a record-setting 44 goals in 51 games in the 38-game league season. Salah's goal tally is the most scored by an African in a single season as well as the most goals in a single season by a Liverpool player since 1984.
The 25-year-old soccer star copped the Professional Footballers Association’s Player of the Year – the second African after Algeria’s Riyadh Mahrez in 2016.
Salah will and his Liverpool outfit will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26.