If you're the observant type (and even if you're not), you've likely noticed a theme in our Team of the Decade fan voting: the emergence of short-term superstars. Highlighted by the selections of Alisson Becker in goal, Mehdi Benatia in defense and even Luciano Spalletti on the bench, our Team of the Decade has its fair share of hired guns. This speaks to two things: Roma's outstanding talent scouting in the 2010s and their equally outstanding need to sell said talent for profit (not so) later on down the road.
Indeed, when we look back on the 2010s, it may very well be the decade of plusvalenza; a time when Roma, for a variety of reasons, was ruled as much by their bankbook as anything else. If the club fell short of financial expectations, significant player sales came just as sure as day follows night.
Roma were at once the incubator and purveyor of top footballing talent in the 2010s, and no player exhibited this frustrating duality more than Mohamed Salah, the first forward on our Roma Team of the Decade.
Roma weren't Salah's first club (fourth, in fact) but his two year stop in the Eternal City set the stage for all that followed. After joining the club on August 5, 2015, Salah soon put to rest the frustration of his prior two stops: two wasted seasons with Chelsea where he made only 13 league appearances and a rather odd stop at Fiorentina, where played well enough to earn a permanent move to the Viola; a move he subsequently refused, setting off a chain of legal custody that would go unresolved for another two years.
In his debut season with Roma, Salah would lead the Giallorossi in scoring with 14 goals while also chipping in 6 assists. Salah would follow that up with 15 goals and 11 assists during Roma's record breaking 2016-2017 season, his last in a Roma shirt.
It was a quick but brilliant two-year hitch for Salah in the Eternal City. Salah appeared on over 70% of your ballots, blowing past Stephan El Shaarawy and Mirko Vucinic to grab the first forward spot on our Team of the Decade.
All told, Salah suited up for Roma 83 times in two seasons, scoring 34 goals and contributing 18 assists. With 0.78 goals scored per 90 minutes in his two seasons with Roma, he was among the most prolific forwards the club has ever seen.
Notable Achievements: 2016-2017 Double-Double
Man, that 2016-2017 team was really something, wasn't it? I feel like nearly all of our Team of the Decade members played their best under Spalletti that season, and with 15 goals and 11 assists in league play, Salah was no exception. Drill those numbers down to per 90 figures, and Salah was either setting up or scoring nearly one goal a match, as he averaged 0.95 goals + assists that season.
Slotting alongside Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy, Salah was unstoppable that season, joining Jose Callejon, Alejandro Gomez and Marek Hamsik in the double-double club, while his 15 goals was good enough to tie him for eighth place in Serie A. His pace, dribbling and passing ability were the perfect foil for Dzeko, as the two teamed up to score 44 league goals, the second highest tandem behind the Napoli duo of Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne who tallied 56 league goals between them.
No matter how you stack it up, Salah was electric that season, giving Roma one of the most dangerous players in the world.
That is, until...
Where is He Now?
Liverpool. Every ignorant, arrogant and annoying American soccer fans favorite team, but, you guys, they've liked them for years, so it's cool.
Sold on June 22, 2017 for €42 million (€50 million with bonuses), Roma missed the Neymar boat by about two months, as the Brazilian superstar reset the market with his absurd €222 million move to PSG in August (which turned out great, right?). No one is suggesting Salah would have fetched that same figure, but that single transaction warped the transfer market so extensively, it wouldn't have been crazy to think Roma could have approached the €80 million mark for Salah had they been able to wait two months.
But, thems the breaks. Since moving to Liverpool, Salah has become one of the best players in the world, scoring over 80 goals for Liverpool and being nominated for a host of prestigious awards.
Good for him...I guess.