Former Egypt striker Mido has insisted that his compatriot Mohamed Salah must not be prevented from taking a break of up to four months next year by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
Salah is expected to play at the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February, after the tournament was rearranged to its original format having been held in the summer of 2019.
That would keep the Egyptian away from club duties potentially for more than four weeks, with the opening game on January 9 followed by the final on February 6.
As well as AFCON, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been rearranged to 2021 and will run from the middle of July until the second week in August.
Speaking to The Sun, Mido – who scored 19 goals in 50 appearances for his country – outlined why Salah must be allowed to complete his international commitments, even if it means missing games for Liverpool.
“Salah must go with Egypt to AFCON — and Liverpool don’t have the right to say no,” he said.
“These are FIFA rules and they can’t prevent Salah from joining the national team for any reason. If Salah doesn’t want to go, then this is the only reason for not seeing him.
“All African players had this problem when we were in England. So I was happy when the 2019 AFCON was played in the summer.
“This kept the African stars away from any problem with their clubs but the Confederation of African Football decided to go back to the old schedule.”
Mido continued that Salah’s “experience and leadership” make him one of the players most certain to feature for Egypt.
“Salah is very important, of course, to our senior national team and to the Olympic team. A player with his experience and leadership , he can make the difference.
“He will be one of the most important players in the tournament, not only for Egypt. We now know the Olympics will be held in the summer of 2021.
“So hopefully things will go normally and the season will be finished by then and he will have the chance to play with the Olympic team.”
Egypt Under-23 boss Shawky Gharib, who is responsible for selecting his country’s Olympic football squad, is allowed to select three players over the age of 23 and has recently confirmed that Salah will be one of his top choices.
Gharib said: “Out of the three senior players we’ll call-up, Salah is the only one we’re settled on so far because he’s simply one of the top three players in the world.
“I haven’t talked to Salah at all about him joining the U23 squad for the Olympics, but in all honesty, his participation in the Olympics will need a little effort from him as well.”