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Report: Real Madrid wanted Salah; he said no

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final

KIEV, UKRAINE - MAY 26: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool reacts during the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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Cristiano Ronaldo actually followed through on an oft-used ultimatum - that he’d leave Real Madrid, which put new coach Julen Lopetegui in a tough position. How do you replace a club icon who averaged about a goal a game?
[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

According to El Pais in Spain, one of the players Lopetegui requested Real Madrid to pursue was Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. In response, Salah not only declined but signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, believed to be through the 2023 season.

After signing for $45 million last summer, Salah lit up the Premier League and was as close to unstoppable in front of goal as you can get, scoring an insane 44 goals in 52 games in all competitions, an incredible strike rate matched by just a handful of players across the globe. It’s likely Liverpool would have balked at selling Salah anyway, especially after an extraordinary season, but it says volumes that Salah not only rejected temptation from Real Madrid but also pledged his future to the Reds.

In his return from his World Cup break, Salah scored on his second touch against Manchester City. If that’s a sign, Liverpool could be in for another huge goal-scoring season, even if Salah doesn’t reach 44 goals again.

Liverpool’s gain could be Chelsea’s loss.

While it’s getting closer to the Premier League’s earlier transfer deadline, El Pais reports that Eden Hazard has expressed his desire to leave London for Madrid, but Chelsea isn’t budging on his nearly $187 million transfer valuation, leaving Real Madrid with the likelihood that it could make no major, galactico-level signings this summer.