Egypt manager Hector Cuper has questioned Sergio Ramos’ comments about whether Liverpool attacker Mohamed Salah could have played on with an injured shoulder in last month’s Champions League final and said the Real Madrid captain should accept the diagnosis of actual medical professionals.
Madrid lifted a third consecutive Champions League trophy after running out 3-1 winners, although Liverpool had been on top until Salah left the field during the first half due to a shoulder injury picked up after a tangle with Ramos.
Ramos has reacted to criticism of his challenge by doubting whether Salah’s injury was really that serious, but Cuper told a news conference that no player would have left a Champions League final unless there was really no other option.
“Sergio Ramos said that with an injection he could have played the second half,” Cuper said. “I’m not a doctor, I don’t know if Ramos is a doctor, but it’s a player who is playing a final and has an injury, I’ve no doubt he would keep playing if it was possible. This is a Champions League final, something extraordinary that does not come around again in your life.
“My opinion is that Salah has an important injury and is now recovering, we are optimistic that he can play at the World Cup. Many things are said, but the reality is what the doctors confirm.”
Ramos also appeared to doubt doctors who found this week that Liverpool’s Loris Karius had suffered a concussion during the game in which the goalkeeper made two crucial mistakes — both coming after he had been floored in a collision with Madrid captain while defending a corner with the game goalless.
Madrid sources have told Marca that they view the Karius concussion stories as a PR stunt and just another attempt to belittle the team’s on-pitch successes. Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez told Copa radio station that he found “these horror stories” difficult to believe.
Meanwhile, Cuper is hopeful that Salah will be available for the start of the team’s World Cup campaign, but he does not want Egypt to be over-reliant on one player.
“We hope we won’t be affected, we try to be the same team, we can’t be dependent on one player,” he said. “He’s important but if he’s not fit in time we will be ready with another player.
“This is football, these things can happen to any player. We could need to substitute him, but we hope that won’t be the case.
“Salah is in a stage of recovery not just for treatment on his shoulder. We need to improve his demeanour and his fitness level because the injury has prevented him from training as a normal player. But we have very good news from our doctor, we hope he will be with us before Uruguay. We are optimists and we are waiting for him.”
Information from ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent Glenn Price was used in this report.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan