Germany coach Low does refutes LaLiga speculation

By Sports Desk March 24, 2021

Germany head coach Joachim Low has revealed he is planning to learn Spanish in the future but insisted he does not have a club job in LaLiga lined up.

Low will step down as Germany boss after this year's European Championships after the German Football Association (DFB) agreed to his request to leave the position early.

His contract originally ran to the 2022 World Cup but Low will instead depart after the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament which starts in June this year.

The 61-year-old has been at the helm since 2006 when he replaced Jurgen Klinsmann and guided his country to World Cup success in 2014.

Speaking at a media conference on Wednesday ahead of World Cup qualifiers with Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia, Low quashed talk of a job in Spanish football.

"I was thinking about it a little while ago. But this hasn't anything to do with a club," Low said.

"You could use Spanish in the whole world. In South America, Europe and the USA you could always use it. After English, it is a very important language. 

"I like the language and wanted to learn it at some point. Maybe I will have the chance to deepen that in the future. But that hasn't anything to do with a Spanish club, it is a useful language to know, though."

Low has taken charge of 189 games for Germany and overseen 120 wins, 38 draws and 31 defeats with a win percentage of 63.49.

The build-up to the Thursday's clash with Iceland in Duisburg has been dominated by talk of who will succeed Low, but midfielder Emre Can insisted the players have not been distracted.

"I think for us players it's almost irrelevant. It's more a topic for the media," Can said.

"Football players are always under pressure when we play for the national team and participate at tournaments. It doesn't matter if there is debate around the coach or not. 

"The coach has made his decision and for sure he is highly motivated for the European Championships, obviously we want to play a successful European Championships for his farewell."

Hansi Flick, who won a remarkable sextuple in his first year as Bayern Munich's head coach, has been mooted as the DFB's preferred successor to Low.

The 56-year-old was Low's assistant coach for almost eight years, from August 2006 to July 2014, leaving his role after Germany's World Cup triumph.

Bayern have been the form side in Europe in Flick's time in charge, and despite a shock exit in the DFB-Pokal earlier this season, are still well in the hunt for a Bundesliga and Champions League double.

However, Bayern and Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich does not expect his club boss to instead become his national team manager.

"Hansi Flick has a contract and we are incredibly successful here," Kimmich told Bild. "That's why I do not assume that he will."

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    Salah, 30, is coming off a season where he led the Premier League in both goals (23, tied with Son Heung-min) and assists (13), but there were rumours swirling about the club potentially looking to cash in on him with a transfer if he indicated he would not sign an extension.

    Ultimately the deal got done, with Salah now tied to the club on a wage of £350,000 per week until the end of the 2024-25 season.

    Speaking to Sky Sports News, Carragher said it would have been painful to see Sadio Mane and Salah depart in quick succession, and that the sale of Divock Origi likely gave Liverpool the financial flexibility to meet their Egyptian star's demands.

    "Losing Mane, it was sad to see that front three break up," he said. "Lots of Liverpool fans over the last few months were kind of resigned to the fact that Salah might see out the last 12 months of his contract and then move on. 

    "Perhaps the club were not maybe prepared to go the numbers he wanted or he felt he deserved, and he would leave the club.

    "But I think the fact that Origi has moved on and Mane has moved on, and Liverpool have brought in maybe one attacking player who is on similar sorts of wages [in Darwin Nunez]. I think the fact that two have gone and one has come in means that they could maybe get closer to the numbers Salah wanted.

    "I think everyone is just delighted Salah has signed, and fingers crossed he produces over the next three years what he has produced over the last five years – and I am sure that he can."

    Carragher went on to discuss how it was a change in the club's spending strategy, but a necessary one when you have a talent as rare as Salah.

    "Liverpool have never really gone to that level in terms of numbers, certainly under [owners Fenway Sports Group]" he said. 

    "I think that a lot of Liverpool fans respect that model because it has brought a lot of success to the club, so they almost accept how they go about things – not just with player contracts, but also with signing players.

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    "Maybe not necessarily break them, but you have to maybe go closer to a position that maybe you don't want to.

    "Salah is already a Liverpool legend – and if he'd moved on in 12 months, he'd have still been a legend. 

    "What players like him, Alisson, Van Dijk, Mane – how they've changed the face of Liverpool Football Club along with the manager means they will all be legends no matter when they move on for the club and for whatever reason they move on from the club.

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  • 'This is his club now' – Klopp says new deal for 'king' Salah was worth the wait 'This is his club now' – Klopp says new deal for 'king' Salah was worth the wait

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    "I have no doubt Mo's best years are still to come. And that's saying something, because the first five seasons here have been the stuff of legend."

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    However, Klopp said: "Fitness-wise, he's a machine – in the most incredible shape. He works hard on it, and he gets his rewards. His ability and his skill level gets higher each season, and his decision-making has gone to another level also.

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    Liverpool fell agonisingly short of an unprecedented quadruple last season, winning the FA Cup and EFL Cup before losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final and being denied the Premier League title by Manchester City on a dramatic final day of that campaign.

    All the time, doubts lingered over whether Salah would make a long-term commitment to Liverpool, or whether he might soon move on.

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    "Mo is one of the best players in the world; it's only normal there are things to sort when you are at his level."

    Klopp said sporting director Julian Ward and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon deserved "big credit" for getting the deal over the line.

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    The Egypt international was due to be out of contract at the end of the upcoming season, leading to strong links with a move away from Anfield.

    However, out of the blue, Salah has penned an extension to – temporarily, at least – bring an end to speculation over his future.

    After losing Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, albeit with Darwin Nunez signed as a replacement of sorts, tying down Salah is a major boost for Liverpool ahead of the new season.

    Here, Stats Perform looks at just how important Salah has been for Liverpool over the past five years, and how his record compares to Europe's other elite attackers.

    ALREADY AMONG LIVERPOOL GREATS

    It is difficult to remember now, but Salah's arrival from Roma in a deal rising to £43million raised more than a few eyebrows due to his disappointing earlier spell with Chelsea.

    Six major honours later, including one as a key part in the club's first Premier League title triumph, and Salah will go down as one of Liverpool's all-time greats.

    The 30-year-old has made 254 appearances for the Reds in total, 235 of those being starts, and has scored 156 goals while assisting 58 more.

    Those 156 goals rank him ninth on the list of Liverpool's record scorers, with considerable ground to make up on Ian Rush at the top of that list with 346 goals.


    CLOSING IN ON GERRARD RECORD

    Salah might struggle to overhaul Rush, but he will also have another record in his sights when the 2022-23 campaign gets up and running next month.

    With 164 direct goal involvements in the Premier League, Salah trails only Steven Gerrard (212) among Reds players in the competition in that regard.

    Indeed, only two players from Europe's top five leagues have scored and assisted more goals across the same period – Robert Lewandowski (184) and Lionel Messi (200).

    Kylian Mbappe, seen by many as the most desirable player in world football, is fourth on that list on 163 goal involvements, while Ciro Immobile is fifth with 159.


    PREMIER LEAGUE PEDIGREE

    Salah has scored 118 goals for Liverpool in the Premier League alone, which is 13 more than next-best Harry Kane among all clubs since the start of the 2017-18 season.

    Those strikes have helped Salah to three Golden Boot awards – only Arsenal legend Thierry Henry (4) has finished top of the competition's scoring charts more often.

    The former Basel forward also ranks top for minutes per goal among those to have played at least 100 times (126 minutes per goal), shots (678) and touches in the opposition box (1,575).

    However, one metric he does not lead is assists, with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne boasting 58 to Salah's 46.


    MORE TO COME FROM MO

    Salah's output has been consistent across his five years at Anfield, starting between 45 and 49 games a season and registering double figures for assists in all but one of those campaigns.

    He has remained a prolific scorer throughout, with a high of 44 goals in the 2017-18 season and a low – but still respectable – 23 in the 2019-20 campaign. The latter was the season when Liverpool won the Premier League.

    The Al Mokawloon youth product has managed 31 goals in each of the past two seasons, while the 15 assists registered last season was a career-high.

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