Mark Brown Arts correspondent on 17 May 2018
A pair of Mohamed Salah’s mint green football boots are to enter the collection of the British Museum, to be displayed next to ancient Egyptian sandals in a gallery near its mummies.
The boots, specially moulded for the shape of the Liverpool player’s feet, have been donated by Adidas to celebrate Salah winning the Golden Boot award for being this season’s top scorer in the Premier League.
The footwear are an eye-catching, fun acquisition but one with a serious intent, the museum said. “The boots tell a story of a modern Egyptian icon, performing in the UK, with a truly global impact,” said Neal Spencer, the museum’s keeper of ancient Egypt and Sudan.
Salah is this season’s footballing phenomenon, revered among Liverpool fans who call him the Egyptian king. He scored 32 Premier League goals in 2017-18, a record tally in a single 38-game season.
The 25-year-old forward also has hero status in his home country and was a huge part of Egypt qualifying for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The donation, believed to be the first football boots to enter the British Museum collection, is part of a wider modern Egypt project launched in 2016 to bolster its collection of contemporary Egyptian material.
Spencer said the museum wanted to tell the story of day-to-day life in 20th- and 21st-century Egypt as well as ancient times covering topics which include sport, entertainment, international trade and design.
The unused X17 Deadly Strike boots were this week photographed in front of the museum’s colossal statues of Ramesses II and Amenhotep III, but their first home from 24 May will be aoom 61, a gallery containing wall paintings from the tomb-chapel of Nebamun, a wealthy Egyptian official. They will be displayed near to ancient Egyptian footwear and gold pharaonic jewellery.
- This article was amended on 18 May 2018 to change a picture caption that had incorrectly said Salah scored against Stoke at Anfield last month.