The boots of Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah will take pride of place next week in the British Museum’s Ancient Egypt exhibition alongside the statues of Pharaohs and the Rosetta Stone.
The British Museum houses on of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities in the world. The collection is now set to grow by one as the 25-year-old Egyptian striker's Adidas boots are put on display.
A statement on the British Museum’s Twitter account boasted of the acquisition. “We’ve made an exciting new acquisition," it announced. "To celebrate Egyptian footballing star Mo Salah being top scorer in the Premier League this season, we’ll be displaying his boots alongside objects from ancient Egypt in the run up to the Champions League final”.
Salah has risen to the ranks of global fame this year, following a record 32-goal-run in the Premier League season for Liverpool. The striker was voted the PFA’s player of the year. He also found success playing internationally for Egypt, where he led the charge in the country’s World Cup qualification campaign, helping them to qualify for football's biggest tournament for the first time since 1990.
Neal Spencer, assistant keeper of the museum’s Ancient Egypt and Sudan department, said the boots were an important exhibition of modern Egyptian history.
“The boots tell a story of a modern Egyptian icon, performing in the UK, with a truly global impact, and build on our recent project to acquire objects to tell the story of daily life in 20th and 21st century Egypt,” he said.
Mr Spencer added on Twitter: “Amidst the statues of pharaohs in @britishmuseum Sculpture Gallery, great to have boots of modern Egyptian icon @MoSalah”.
A spokesperson for the museum said the display would begin next week, although the exact day was unconfirmed.
The temporary exhibit was announced early on Thursday, and will remain on display in the run up to Salah’s side Liverpool facing Real Madrid in in the Champions League final next Saturday.
Originally from Nagrir, in Northern Egypt, Salah has been praised for his impact both on and off the pitch this season. Muslim leaders claim his success is helping tackle Islamophobia. In February a group of Liverpool fans were caught on camera chanting “I’ll be Muslim too” while celebrating. The good natured lines in the song were heard over the world as the video went viral.
Yet the announcement was met with a mixed response online, where Daniel Taylor tweeted "Hahahahaha unreal stuff, add him to the pharaohs collection".
Others took aim at the commercialisation of the museum, point out the boot manufacturer Adidas was gaining from the promotion of its logo. "Not sure about the shoe shop effect. And you know you're going to be under suspicion of publicising a corporation... His photograph would have been a better choice", tweeted Rosanna Cantavella.