Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has received honorary Chechen citizenship from leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Salah is based in the Chechen Republic with his national team for the World Cup in Russia.
During a ceremonial banquet on Friday, Salah was officially bestowed citizenship by Kadyrov who, after a short speech, pinned a broach of the Chehen flag onto the striker’s Egypt training shirt to symbolically confirm the honor.
Salah was then presented with a silver plate and a signed shirt of Chechen football team FC Akhmat Grozny, the club for which Kadyrov formerly served in the capacity of chairman and is named in honor of his late father.
Upon Kadyrov's first meeting with Salah after the Egypt's first public training session in Grozny, Kadyrov was overjoyed at the presence of the 2017/18 Premier League Player of the Year in the Republic, situated in Russia's North Caucasus region.
"I consider them to be one of the strongest teams in the world," Kadyrov smiled. "Mohamed Salah is the best footballer in the world, and an overall perfect person."
The Egypt team have enjoyed becoming acquainted with Chechen culture since arrival in Russia. They were greeted upon arrival in the Muslim-majority region by dancers performing the region’s traditional ‘lezginka’ dance in which a man and woman dance, with the male partner imitating the movements of an eagle.
Salah’s Egypt are already eliminated from the Russia 2018 tournament after their shock 3-1 loss to hosts Russia in Group A left them winless after two games. Egypt play Saudi Arabia in the group’s rubber match on Monday.
Salah has been quick to dispel rumours of discontent in the Egypt camp after their exit from the tournament was confirmed, with reports suggesting he would even leave Russia and his teammates early.
However, the forward tweeted on Tuesday: “Everyone in Egypt is together and there is absolutely no disagreement between us.. We respect each other and the relationship is best.”