And the Egypt global had to watch on as Uruguay claimed a 1-0 win over his side in their group stage opener.
Mohamed Salah showed signs of discomfort with his injured left shoulder while taking part in Egypt's final training session before the team's World Cup match against Russian Federation on Tuesday.
"I took Salah's shirt as a gift for my children, who also see him as a star", the striker explained, as quoted by the Daily Metro.
Standing in their way could be Salah, but his availability has been a headache for Egypt ever since he injured his shoulder during a tussle with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos during the Champions League final last month.
Salah, who turned 26 on Friday, trained with his team-mates on Saturday ahead of their crunch game with the hosts who started their World Cup by beating Saudi Arabia 5-0.
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"I have a simple answer". He is a team player and that at least for me is extremely important now. We are ready to stop Salah and we will do this.
"We need to bear in mind that there is not only one player on the pitch".
Russia's veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev said he would rather focus on winning than any particular opposing player. We're joking with each other, we are a little bit more relaxed.
"I believe this good mood should not only be among us players but among the fans too. We should be united to win".
The Egyptian Football Association declared Salah fit to face Uruguay in the tournament opener - a verdict Cuper concurred with pre-match before opting against risking his prized asset in the 1-0 defeat.