In 2021, Mohamed Salah’s reputation precedes him. Widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting and talented forwards in the game, few would every question the Liverpool star's credentials.
But rewind the clock six years and it’s a vastly different story for a player who was still looking to make a name for himself in European football.
Coming off the back of 18-months with Chelsea that saw him play just 19 times, the Egyptian was a player in need of a fresh start.
Fiorentina provided that, when they took him on loan during the January transfer window back in 2015.
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In 26 games with the Italians, Salah showed glimpses of the talent he would become, netting nine times in all competitions.
That deal would ultimately be cut short, with their Serie A rivals Roma taking him, firstly on-loan, and then in a permanent deal.
But his former Viola teammate Alessandro Diamanti has admitted that his colleagues at Firorentina took some convincing after a less than impressive introduction.
“The first time he came to Fiorentina, nobody knows Salah. He came from Chelsea, but he didn’t play much,” Diamanti told the
“In the first training session with Fiorentina, he didn’t do very good.
“Everyone thought, ‘how could Chelsea get this player? Maybe this is why he came to Fiorentina!’
“His first training session he was just normal, we expected something more from him.”
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It didn’t take long to change their minds however, with the ex-West Ham forward quickly realising how special their new signing really was.
He recalled: “Then in his first game at home against Atalanta, a game in which I scored, he played the last 30 minutes and we started to say, ‘Hmmm he’s quick this guy, he has pace’.
“And after two weeks, well, he was unbelievable, unbelievable! He was fast, he scored, dribbled, he had skills. Unbelievable.
“He wasn’t as good as he was now. He’s improved a lot in the years since. Especially his finishing.”
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