Egyptian football icon Ahmed Hasan has accused Mohamed Salah of orchestrating his departure from the Africa Cup of Nations after sustaining a muscle injury.

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The Liverpool star was substituted due to a hamstring tweak in Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana, prompting Jurgen Klopp to confirm the club’s intention to fly the 31-year-old back for treatment.

Salah, absent from Egypt’s tense draw with Cape Verde as they barely advanced to the knockout stages, is expected to stay away from future matches until fully recovered. Former Egypt captain Hasan, a four-time Africa Cup of Nations winner, expressed his disappointment at Salah’s decision to leave the national team camp.

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Hasan voiced his concerns, stating, “I’ve always backed Salah, and I was very happy with his presence as captain of the Egyptian national team. I had no problems with what he said, but it turned out that he was plotting his departure from the Egypt camp.”

Questioning the AFCON regulations, Hasan added, “He had the possibility of bringing in someone from Liverpool’s medical staff to be with him during the competition. Again, he is the captain. He should stay with the team no matter what, even if he only had one leg to stand on.”

He continued, “He even said himself that it’s the Egyptian national team, not Salah’s national team, and this is true. We have confidence in all the players who are there, and they must fight for the title.”

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders responded to Hasan’s remarks, defending Salah’s commitment and clarifying that Salah’s return aims to facilitate a potential return for the final if Egypt reaches that stage.

“You should never doubt the commitment of Mo Salah,” Lijnders asserted. “I never met a guy, and also a human being, who is more committed to the life of being a professional football player.”

Lijnders further explained, “The only reason why their medical team and our team decided for him to come back is to give him the best possible chance to be available in the final if Egypt reaches the final.”

Salah is expected to be sidelined for three weeks, providing a brief window for recovery ahead of the AFCON final on February 11, according to Lijnders.