The phrase 'break the internet' was originally applied to Kim Kardashian and her 2014 Paper Magazine cover photo, and the likes, shares and shock it generated. Today, however, it is a footballer on the front of a magazine who is generating all of those same shares and reactions.
And while Mo Salah might not have the 'assets' Kim had for her 2014 shoot, he certainly has the style, posing as the cover star for the GQ Sports Issue.
We are more than used to seeing Mo wearing the red of Liverpool or Egypt, but we are less used to seeing him effortlessly pull off knitted sweater vests and bucket hats. And given Liverpool's current deal with Nike, it is an even bigger surprise to see him wearing a vintage Liverpool 1993-95 home shirt, made by adidas. Thankfully the dreaded full-kit look is ditched in favour of a pair or similarly 90s-era orange shorts from Hermès and some green adidas Gazelles.
The sneakers remain on for the cover shoot - shot by Fanny Latour-Lambert - but the shirt and shorts combo is gone, as Mo instead tucks his white sweatpants into his socks. In doing so, a look that should bring back memories of Gábor Király is turned into high fashion, and topped off with a pair of Copa Mundials hanging from the Egyptian's neck.
The classic adidas boots serve to add an element of Salah's profession to the cover shot, and within each of the photos a similar piece of clothing or accessory is used to do the same. In a series of photos, a tweed blazer is combined with bright green adidas originals shorts. In another set, the aforementioned knitted vest and bucket hat are worn while a football is juggled and flicked with the same ease as it would be in Salah's full training gear.
It is almost as if Salah is letting us all know that, yes, he is one of the best footballers in the world right now, but he can look while good doing it too.
And while the GQ cover and its photos unexpectedly appeared on our timeline this morning, they should not really come as a surprise. Salah has consistently used his profile and pedigree to speak on off-the-field matters, elevating himself beyond the game itself.
An important message from Mohamed Salah after being named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. pic.twitter.com/GEPJ8kacik
As for on the pitch matters, Salah also discussed these in an interview with Oliver Franklin-Wallis, charting his formative years in Egypt, difficult times and Chelsea, and unprecedented success at Liverpool. There was also talk of the contract that as yet remains unsigned, with Salah saying, "I want to stay, but it’s not in my hands. It’s in their hands. They know what I want. I’m not asking for crazy stuff.”
Mo's clear talent in front of the camera might even need up bagging him a few extra figures in that new contract, and judging by the prices of the Louis Vuitton, Wales Bonner and Prada gear he's sporting, he'll need it.
Salah is due to make his AFCON 2021 bow for Egypt on the same day that the cover shoot dropped, ensuring that all eyes will be on Mohamed Salah both on and off the pitch. Read the full interview in GQ here.
Finally, like all good things on the internet, the photos also produced some top quality Twitter content.