Cristiano Ronaldo believes Mo Salah could rival him and Messi for the Ballon d’Or, an award the Portugal star and Lionel Messi have dominated for more than a decade.
Not since Kaka in 2007 has a different player broken their stranglehold on the individual prize.
But Ronaldo admitted that Salah’s stunning 44-goal season with the Liverpool marks him out as a huge threat.
‘Mo Salah has been one of the revelations of the year,’ Ronaldo said.
‘Many people talk about the Cristiano Ronaldo-Messi battle but there are other players who have chances to enter the race (for Ballon d’Or). The Egyptian is one of them.’
Having line-up against the 25-year-old in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Champions League final victory, Ronaldo also hopes Salah recovers in time for the World Cup after suffering a shoulder injury.
‘I hope his injury in the final in Kiev doesn’t keep him out,’ the 33-year-old added.
There is a chance the pair could lock horns again in the last 16, with Egypt and Portugal in Group A and B respectively.
Ronaldo leads his country against Spain in a mouthwatering first clash of the tournament for Portugal on Friday.
Salah faces a race against time to be ready for Egypt’s opener against Uruguay on the same day.