DUBAI – The world’s top Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has hailed Muslim football star Mohamed Salah as a “role model”, admiring the “humble” Liverpool striker despite his huge fame.
“I follow him but I haven’t met him before. He’s a great player, we want many role models like him,” Nurmagomedov told Al Ittihad newspaper while on a trip to the United Arab Emirates, Russia Today reported.
“They reflect the true image of our ethics. I feel that Allah is standing with him [Salah], and our new generations need those who are like Mohamed Salah to learn humility, no matter how famous and innovative you are.
“He’s an icon that we must protect, and we stand behind him so he can continue to succeed. I admire him and the ethics and values he spreads every day in Europe,” added the 30-year-old fighter.
Nurmagomedov and Salah are arguably the two biggest Muslim sports stars in the world at present.
The Russian fighter nicknamed ‘The Eagle’ has seen his popularity soar after defeating Conor McGregor at UFC 229.
Khabib Abdulmanapovich Nurmagomedov, or ‘Habib Abdulmanap Nur Mohamed’ in Arabic, is not only the UFC’s first Muslim champion but currently and more importantly he also holds the longest undefeated streak in MMA, with 27 wins.
On the other hand, Salah’s record-breaking exploits for Liverpool have earned him millions of adoring fans.
Salah scored 44 goals in 52 appearances in all competitions last season while helping Liverpool surge through the Champions League knockout stages while securing a fourth-place EPL finish.
With his strike against Cardiff at the weekend, he also became the quickest player to reach 50 goals for the Reds, achieving the feat in just 65 games.
Half a century of goals for the reds ? pic.twitter.com/bxfhjzKT3T
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) October 25, 2018