Top Muslim Football Players in European Leagues
Although Muslim people are minority in Europe, there top Muslim football players in European leagues that can change the game.
Perhaps this subject brings to mind stars like Pogba, who recently signed with man United, or Salah, who continues to thrive for the Reds. Over a lengthy history, Muslim football players have made significant contributions to the sport.
Less people discriminate against others today because of their race or religion. Regardless of their religious beliefs, football fans are passionate about their favorite players, who contributes to the "beautiful game."
In this post, we want to highlight some of the top Muslim football players in European leagues who have made significant contributions to the game, particularly at their football club.
Who do you believe should be listed first on our list?
:Here is a list of the top Muslim football players in the European Leagues
It should be mentioned that the list includes only those Muslim footballers who are playing at the top-level football clubs.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
one of the most popular Muslim players in Europe
, Karim Mostafa Benzema was born on the 19 December 1987 in Lyon. He is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France national team.
has been described as a talented striker who is both strong and a potent finisher on the pitch.
.Benzema won 5 Champions Leagues in 2022, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2014 with Real Madrid.
Benzema began his football career with local club Bron Terraillon. In 1996, he joinedOlympique Lyonnais
, and subsequently came through the club's youth academy.
In 2009, it was announced that Lyon had reached an agreement with Spanish clubReal Madrid
for the transfer of Benzema.
The transfer fee was announced to be €35 million with the fee rising to as much as €41 million based on incentives. Benzema successfully passed his medical test and signed his contract, which was a six-year deal.
As a practicing Muslim, Benzema observes fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. His grandfather, Da Lakehal Benzema, lived in the village of Tigzirt, located in the northern town of Beni Djellil in Algeria before migrating to Lyon, where he eventually settled in the 1950s.
Benzema's father, Hafid, was born in Tigzirt, while his mother, Wahida Djebbara, was born and raised in Lyon. Benzema is the third youngest in the family and grew up with eight other siblings in Bron, an eastern suburb of Lyon.
His younger brothers Gressy and Sabri are also footballers. In 2014, his daughter Mélia was born and his son Ibrahim was born in 2017.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City, Algeria)
, born 21 February 1991, is a professional footballer who plays as a winger forPremier League
and captains the Algerian national team.
As one of
famous Muslim footballers
in European Leagues
, Mahrez is known for his specialty in taking superb set-pieces. He has won the EPL title a couple of times and also helped Algeria winning the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mahrez was born in Sarcelles, France, to an Algerian father and a mother of Algerian and Moroccan descent. His father Ahmed was from Beni Snous, Tlemcen District.
Growing up, Mahrez would regularly spend his holidays in Algeria. Mahrez's father had played football in Algeria.
When Mahrez was fifteen, his father died of a heart attack. He reflected that, "I don't know if I started to be more serious but after the death of my dad things started to go for me. Maybe in my head, I wanted it more."
Mahrez is a practicing Muslim and in June 2017, he made the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. He married his English girlfriend Rita Johal in 2015. Their daughter, Inaya Mahrez, was born later that year. Mahrez and his wife were reported to have a second daughter, thought to be born in late 2016, but whose name is not known.
Man City ace started dating reality star Dawn Ward’s daughter Taylor after he officially called time on his marriage.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United, France)
, born 15 March 1993, is a French professional footballer who plays for Serie A club Juventus
and the French national team.
well-known Muslim football player in European Leagues
is Pogba who was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne, to Guinean parents. His mother practiced Islam but did not raise her three sons to be Muslim.
However the Manchester United midfielder connected with religion as an adult through friends, and says Islam is often misunderstood.
“Islam is not the image that everyone sees, terrorism,” Pogba told, Life Times podcast. “What we hear in the media is really something else. It’s something beautiful.”
The Juventus star made a world record transfer from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016 and came back to his previous club this summer.
At only 29,Pogba
is considered by many to be a future Ballon d’Or winner and his potential and talent is what led to United forking out the huge sum for the Frenchman. Born in Siene-et-Marne to Guinean parents, Paul Pogba along with his brothers Florentin and Mathias are Muslim.
As one of the most valuable players in the world, Pogba is capable of playing as a central midfielder and in a slightly more advanced role.
After going through some difficult personal times Pogba has committed to his faith, and last year was pictured on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
“It made me change, realize things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside. It was a good change in my life because I wasn’t born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone.
Franck Ribery (Fiorentina, France)
, born 7 April 1983, is a former French professional footballer.
When he was two years old, he and his family were involved in a car accident in his hometown, colliding with a lorry.
Ribéry suffered serious facial injuries that resulted in more than one hundred stitches and which left two long scars down the right side of his face, and another across his brows.
Before starting his football career, Ribéry worked as a construction worker with his father. He always refers to those years as a "learning experience."
As one of the greatest wingers of all time,Ribery
converted to Islam in 2002 after being inspired by his wife Wahiba who is of Algerian descent. So, he is among those
footballers who have converted to Islam
. He also added the name Bilal after his conversion.
Speaking about his conversion from Christianity to Islam, Ribery said:
"Religion is my personal thing. I am a believer and since I converted to Islam, I think, I became stronger, I became mentally and physically stronger. Religion did not change my personality or my perception of the world. I pray five times a day, I do it because it enables me to be released and I feel better afterwards"
The Frenchman is a staunch follower of Islam and was even reportedly extremely angry with Boateng for dousing him in beer after winning the Bundesliga in 2013.
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt)
, born 15 June 1992, is an Egyptian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League clubLiverpool
and the Egypt national team. Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his finishing, dribbling, and speed.
Many believe that Salah’s presence at Liverpool Football Club has been a direct cause of a fall in Islamophobia in the city. There is no doubt that he was
Muslim footballer of 2019
Salah has been a revelation for the club, winning the Premier League golden boot in both of his campaigns and playing a leading role in their recent Champions League triumph, scoring the opening goal in the final from the penalty spot.
Salah’s goal celebration involves performing Sujood, the Islamic act of prostration to God.
Therefore, it can be concluded that Salah’s characteristics as a friendly figure in the team had helped ‘humanize’ the Muslim community in general and the football community in particular.
Sadio Mane (Liverpool FC, Senegal)
, born 10 April 1992, is a Senegalese professional footballer who plays as a winger for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the Senegal national team.
The Muslim superstar was one of the most expensive signings of the 2016/17 season. The Senegal man was one of the best players in the Premier League last season and Mane credited religion with playing a huge role in his success.
In an earlier interview, Mane spoke about the importance of Islam in his life:
“Religion is very important to me. I respect the rules of Islam and I pray five times a day, always. I won't touch alcohol. There was no conflict between religion and the fact that I wanted to play football. I was brought up correctly and in the right way and my parents are proud of the fact that I am a footballer.”
Mane’s father was the Imam of a local mosque at his home country in Senegal. A true superstar in Africa, Mane is determined to give back to the region he came from and make it a better place.
He is a practicing Muslim and occasionally is seen making du'a before the start of each match.
Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund, Germany)
, born 12 January 1994, is a German professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Borussia Dortmund and the Germany national team.
On 18 February 2020, the deal was made permanent on a four-year contract for €25 million.
As a versatile player, Can has also played as a defensive midfielder, center back, and full back.
Can's name is also on
the Muslim footballers' list
He has opened up about sickening racist abuse he and his family have suffered.
Can was born in Frankfurt but his parents are Turkish and he explained how they had been left hurt by a recent experience when he flew with them to Germany from the UK. His mother was wearing a hijab, a veil worn by Muslim women.
“Two months ago I had a day off and I wanted to fly to Germany. I had to book at the last minute,” Can said.
“My mum was wearing a hijab. She was here with my dad. We couldn’t sit together on the plane.
“There were two seats next to each other. My mum and dad wanted to sit together but they had other seats.
“My best mate was there too and he asked the man ‘can they sit there please?’ He said ‘no, show me your ticket’.
“My friend said ‘please, they just want to sit together’ and the man said ‘no’ again. The reason he said no was because my mum was wearing a hijab. It was a bad thing. It was racist.
“It was actually a former player but he didn’t see me as I was at the back of the plane.”
Granit Xhaka (Arsenal, Switzerland)
, born 27 September 1992, is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League clubArsenal
and captains the Swiss national team.
Arsenal and Swiss midfield star Granit Xhaka is one of the Muslim team stars at the North London side. Bought from German side Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee of around £35 million, the Swiss star has had a decent first season. He has an estimated net worth of $65 Million.
Xhaka was born in the city of Basel, Switzerland into an Albanian family from Kuršumlija, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now Serbia.
His father Ragip was a political prisoner. At the age of 22, as a student at University of Pristina, he was arrested for participating in a 1986 student demonstration against the central government in Belgrade,
and served three and a half years of a six-year prison sentence before being released in 1990. Their family moved from Podujevo, District of Pristina to Switzerland that year.
His older brother, Taulant Xhaka, is a professional footballer and plays for FC Basel and the Albania national team.
Mesut Özil (Fenerbahce, Germany)
, born 15 October 1988, is a German professional footballer who used to play for the Premier League club Arsenal as an attacking midfielder. He is currently playing for I
. He can also be deployed as a winger.
He is well-known for his technical skills and creativity, agility, finesse, and versatility as an attacking midfielder.
Özil was born in Gelsenkirchen on 15 October 1988. He played, at youth level, for various clubs in Gelsenkirchen during 1995-2000, before a five-year stint for Rot-Weiss Essen.
On 2 September 2013, Özil agreed to join English side Arsenal. The fee paid for Özil was believed to be around £42.5 million (€50 million) for a five-year deal.
The transfer made him the most expensive German football player of all time. Özil was assigned the number 11 shirt and the center-attacking midfield role by the team.
Özil is a practicing Muslim. He recites from the Quran before his matches. He said, "I always do that before I go out [on the pitch]. I pray and my teammates know that they cannot talk to me during this brief period."
He observes fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan, but he has admitted that: "Because of my job I cannot follow Ramadan properly. I do it only the few days I can, only when I have a free day. But other than that it's impossible, because you have to drink and eat a lot to stay at peak fitness."
In May 2016, he performed Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca.
During a Europa League match in 2018 against Atlético Madrid, an Atlético fan threw a piece of bread at Özil while he was preparing to take a corner.
Özil picked up the bread, kissed it, and brought it to his forehead to express gratitude towards the food given to him, which is important in Islam, which was widely applauded throughout the stadium.
Edin Dzeko (Inter, SFR Yugoslavia)
top Muslim footballer
is born on the 17thg of March 1986. The Bosnian professional footballer plays as a striker forSerie A
and the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team.
The Bosnian striker has been successful wherever he has played especially for Bundesliga club Wolfsburg, Premier League side Manchester City and his current side Inter. A prolific goalscorer, Dzeko had a stunning 2016/17 season where he scored 39 goals in 51 appearances.
An absolute superstar in his home country of Bosnia, Dzeko is also multilingual and capable of speaking 4 languages – Bosnian, Czech, German and English fluently. He is also involved in plenty of charitable ventures and even became his country’s first UNICEF ambassador.
The 36 years old Dzeko is still determined to add some more chapters to his already storied career.
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