Chechen leader makes Salah honorary citizen

Chechen leader makes Salah honorary citizen

Chechen leader makes Salah honorary citizen

It also showed the Chechen leader autographing a striped green-and-white Akhmat Grozny jersey and presenting it to Salah amid polite applause by the rest of the Egyptian squad seated at separate tables.

The Pharaohs, as the Egyptian squad is known, adopted the Russian region's capital, Grozny, as their base for the tournament, a choice that has raised eyebrows given Kadyrov's poor human rights record and the long distances involved in the team's travels to group matches elsewhere 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.

Chechnya has been hosting the Egyptian team's World Cup training camp and Kremlin-backed Kadyrov has seized on opportunities to appear alongside Salah, whose goalscoring exploits for Liverpool and Egypt have made him an worldwide superstar.

The Chechen leader asked Salah to accompany him back to the stadium, where the two posed for photos and greeted the 5,000 fans watching Egypt practice.

Kadyrov's regime has been criticised for alleged human rights abuse, a claim he denied this week in a BBC interview.

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Hampered by an elbow injury previous year , he has failed to reach the semi-finals in any of his last five Grand Slam appearances. The Swiss ace is now ranked number one in the world and his long-time rival is ranked number two just 150-points behind.

Kadyrov took charge of Chechnya in 2007, backed by Kremlin to impose tight control in the Muslim region where Russian Federation had fought two brutal and costly wars to crush separatists since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Reports since have claimed Salah now wants to leave Egypt's squad instead of playing in their final group game against Saudi Arabia.

Salah, 26, has been pictured with Kadyrov, who was accused of using the player for political propaganda. I didn't invite Mohamed Salah or the Egyptian team.

"I know him very well from Southampton and we were always together, chatting every day", Mane said.

Kadyrov has angrily denounced reports that he is using Salah's presence in Grozny to generate good publicity. Our enemies are paid to write things like that.

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