Former Russia forward Dmitri Cheryshev said on Sunday that although Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was an exceptional player, he was not in the same class as the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay in their first Group A match on Friday. Salah spent the whole game on the bench due to a shoulder injury he sustained in late May.
“He [Salah] is an exceptional player, but [he is] not a world-class football star, who can compete for the Golden Boot. Right now [the contenders for the award] are Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar and maybe [England's Harry] Kane. Liverpool uses Salah properly, here, in the Egyptian national team, things will be different,” Cheryshev told journalists.
Cheryshev's son, Russia midfielder Denis Cheryshev, scored a brace in the opening match of the tournament on Thursday, when Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0, becoming the first player in history to score a goal in the World Cup opening match after coming on from the bench.
“The team is getting ready for Egypt. I played against [Egypt head coach Hector] Cuper’s teams before, he is the most tactical coach, you never know how to approach his teams. Any chance we might have we should use [in that match],” Cheryshev added.
Russia's first-ever World Cup will be held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on 15 July. Russia and Egypt were drawn in Group A along with Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.