Born in the Egyptian city of Basyoun, 100km or so north of Cairo, Mohamed Salah’s footballing journey began in the Nasr City district of the country’s capital.
A talented youngster, he honed his skills in the youth teams of El Mokawloon SC, and made his debut for the senior side aged just 17 at the back end of the 2009-10 season, going on to make five appearances in total.
The following campaign saw Salah fully establish himself in the first team, and he grabbed his first goal at that level in a 1-1 away draw with eventual champions Al-Ahly in December.
By 2011-12, the winger was a key man for El Mokawloon, and was given recognition in the form of a maiden full international cap in September, which came in a 2-1 defeat to Sierra Leone.
However, having featured in every game for his club by February of that season, the Port Said Stadium disaster resulted in the cancellation of all remaining Egyptian Premier League fixtures.
In the absence of domestic football, Egypt’s U23s team were invited to play a friendly match against Basel at the Stadion Rankhof in March 2012.
The Swiss club had already been keeping tabs on Salah and were fully convinced of his talents when he scored two goals as a second-half substitute in that fixture.
Salah adapted quickly to life in Switzerland and emerged as a vital component of a team that won the Swiss Super League and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, scoring against both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the latter competition.