Ronaldo a cautionary tale for Salah: Richard Buxton
United star's recent club career suggests that Egyptian could be best served staying at Liverpool
Another late winner from Cristiano Ronaldo, another dramatic victory that Manchester United snatched from the jaws of defeat.
The Portugal skipper's 81st-minute header sealed a 3-2 comeback victory over Atalanta in a Champions League, Group F clash yesterday morning (Singapore time), following his injury-time winner in last month's 2-1 fightback against Villarreal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils have often displayed this tendency to concede first before attempting dramatic comebacks, which are not always successful.
With a blockbuster clash against Liverpool coming up on Sunday, United may be made to pay for another slow start.
While Ronaldo has been in a rich vein of form with six goals in eight games, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has also been in sizzling shape.
Just 24 hours before the Red Devils' win over Atalanta, Salah had set two more milestones to inspire Liverpool in their own breathless 3-2 win against Atletico Madrid.
Not only did he become the first player in Anfield's illustrious history to score in nine consecutive appearances, but he also surpassed Steven Gerrard as the Reds' all-time leading scorer in the modern incarnation of Europe's elite club competition.
Sunday's showdown between English football's two most successful teams brings together two of the game's finest attackers at different stages in their spells at the top.
Ronaldo and Salah share more in common than the colours of their respective clubs; both excelled in Serie A and were, for a time, viewed with suspicion by Jose Mourinho.
Salah's recent form, 12 strikes in 11 matches, has placed him as a late contender for the Ballon d'Or. For all the fanfare around the evergreen pair of Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema, the one-time Chelsea misfit is operating on a level that is currently unrivalled in world football.
Yet, it was Ronaldo who earned the EPL's Player of the Month for September, just weeks into his second coming as a Red Devil and much to the bemusement of the Anfield faithful.
Little separated the Portugal skipper from Salah at that time, with each recording three goals in as many top-flight games last month - but the Egyptian has since pulled clear, thanks to eye-watering numbers and a series of mesmerising individual finishes.
With less than two years remaining on his existing Liverpool contract, however, the 29-year-old's long-term future has become a bone of contention. The clamour for owners Fenway Sports Group to accede to his demands is amplified with each passing week.
Compromising the stringent financial principles which allowed the American hierarchy to assemble a team comprised almost entirely of superstars in the making, instead of the ready-made variety, would unleash a Pandora's box for an ultimately short-term gain.
Salah has made no secret of a desire, at some point, to test himself in La Liga with the might of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
But a cursory glance across the halfway line this weekend offers a note of caution about gambling your career on such unfamiliar terrain.
Leaving the Bernabeu's gilded comforts three years ago in favour of a fresh challenge with Juventus failed to reap the rewards Ronaldo and his Italian ex-employers anticipated.
A surprise return to United, where Solskjaer's side were already mired in their current boom and bust cycle, is seen in some quarters as a begrudging acceptance of his career's waning trajectory.
Salah has the Ballon d'Or firmly in his sights, but repeating his contemporary's mistakes would see those chances swiftly disappearing into the rear-view mirror.