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Egypt's Mohamed Salah considering retiring from national team: Sources

Volgograd (Russia): Mohamed Salah told Egypt team officials and teammates that he is considering retiring from international play because he is angry about being used as a political symbol while the World Cup squad was based in Chechnya, two people close to the player told The Associated Press.

Salah said he was particularly annoyed with a team banquet hosted by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who used the dinner to grant Salah "honorary citizenship," according to the two people, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Kadyrov has been accused of human rights violations. Egypt soccer federation spokesman Osama Ismail said that Salah has not complained to the federation.

"Only what Salah writes on his Twitter account should be counted on."

After a record-breaking season for Liverpool, Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was expected to shine at the World Cup. But, after missing the Pharaohs' first game through injury and appearing to lack match sharpness in the second, his hopes of making a major impact in Russia are over.

While Egypt have lost against also-eliminated Saudi Arabia on Monday - 26-year-old Salah will leave Russia considering what might have been.

When Salah tangled with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final in May and had to go off with an injured shoulder, Liverpool's prospects of winning that competition all but ended. In Egypt - a nation of 80 million - football fans held their breath, knowing only too well the forward's importance to their team.

Salah had a hand in seven of the eight goals that took the Pharaohs through qualifying, scoring five and assisting two, as they reached the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Without him in Russia their threat was dramatically diminished, as shown by a toothless 1-0 defeat by Uruguay and during a 3-1 loss to the hosts, in which a less-than-fit Salah did score a late penalty.

"One thing to wonder, with the chances he had against Russia, is how many would a fit Salah have put away?" said former Scotland winger Pat Nevin. "That would hurt for Egypt to think about."

Manager Hector Cuper said: "He could not prepare with us in the training sessions all the time, he had to train alone. "If he was not injured, it is very difficult to know what would have happened but we know the quality he has."

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