Mohamed Salah, the Liverpool superstar giving away thousands to help Egyptians

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In recent years, Egypt has often made headlines for dispiriting reasons – such as political unrest and terror attacks – but one man has been changing that.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has enjoyed an incredible year on the pitch, finishing as the top scorer in the 2017-18 Premier League season, becoming the fastest player in the Reds’ history to score 50 goals and firing his team to the Champions League final.

Off the pitch, a series of heart-warming gestures mean the 26-year-old is not only endearing himself to Liverpool supporters but football fans across the world.

“Mohamed has been a pure human being since he was young,” Hamdi Nooh, the coach at Arab Contractors, his first professional club, told BBC Sport.

“I will tell you a story that not many know about. When he was 10 and training at his local club in his village of Basyoun, there was a dog that had puppies just under the stands surrounding the training pitch.

“Although he was still young, Salah used to carry food to the training pitch all the way from his house every day to feed the puppies. He’s always been like that. He has a big heart and loves to be giving.”

In recent years, the forward – who this week spoke out on behalf of Egypt’s stray dogs – has been helping more than just animals.

Stories of his generosity are legion: a father revealing Salah was funding surgery for his son’s Leukaemia, a donation towards nursery facilities in Basyoun where he has built a religious institution where children can also study.

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His donations are across the spectrum as shown when he gave more than $30,000 ($23,400) to help former footballers in Egypt, with even the country profiting when Salah gave nearly $300,000 to a government whose economy was plummeting last year.

But it is his home village of Basyoun, where the Mohamed Salah Charity Foundation has helped 450 families financially by giving them a monthly allowance, that has profited the most.

“Salah has never forgotten his roots – unlike other players who often forget their families and villages when they become wealthy,” says Inas Mazhar, who worked as the Egypt national team’s media officer between 2016 and June 2018.

“It is well known that Salah dedicates a lot of money for those in need in his village. Everything goes through his father, who knows what to do.

“For example, someone from the village preparing for a wedding will come to his father to request funds. Or if someone says he is sick, the father follows the case and if it is true, he will help pay for the operation.”

Breaking down barriers

Even when he has not actively given money, Salah has helped in other ways.

After he fronted a drug addiction campaign back home, the Ministry of Social Solidarity’s hotline received a 400% increase in calls