Mo Salah defends teammate embroiled in sexual harassment claims
The Liverpool FC icon, whose goal against Congo took Egypt into the final 16 of the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday, tweeted following the match that "we need to believe in second chances", in a nod to Warda's suspension.
Numerous women took to social media on Monday, sharing accounts of Warda sending them aggressive and inappropriate messages.
"Women must be treated with the utmost respect. 'No' means 'no'," the Egypt captain tweeted to his 9.3 million followers on Wednesday.
However he then changed tack, pleading for the 25-year-old to be given another chance.
"I also believe that many who make mistakes can change for the better and shouldn't be sent straight to the guillotine, which is the easiest way out."
"We need to believe in second chances... we need to guide and educate. Shunning is not the answer," he said in a follow-up post.
Dozens of women shared similar stories of inappropriate messages from Warda dating back several years, compiled into a Twitter thread by @cryindivaa.
The women also detail how Warda aggressively propositioned them, asking if they were virgins and offering to even fly them out to his home in Greece for sexual liaisons.
According to the testimonies, Warda was quick to anger if they didn't respond to his messages or video calls.
Salah provoked a mixed reaction for his swift defence of his teammate. Some ridiculed his call for second chances, pointing out he has already been given a "trillion chances", yet continues with his behaviour.
Indeed, the midfielder had already been given the boot by Portuguese team Feirense, after being accused of harassing the wives of his teammates in 2017.
Warda refuted the allegations and launched a legal case against the Portuguese website who published the claims.
"Salah wont want warda to have a second chance when he starts harassing HIS wife will he," tweeted @nadanassarx on Thursday in response to Salah's jumping to the defence of Warda.
Other women were just as displeased with Salah's reaction
Warda was among five Egyptian players accused by Instagram model Merhan Keller of sending her inappropriate messages on Monday.
Egypt national team director Ihab Leheta addressed the scandal on Sunday, telling the media that the players had been spoken to and told to focus on the ongoing tournament.
Warda has shut down his Instagram account since Keller went public with her allegations.
The Arab world's most populous country has one of the world's highest rates of sexual harassment.
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