Like every other religion, Islam is a universal faith, and followers of Islam include people from varied backgrounds. Footballers of the Muslim faith are not just confined to your favorite team players such as Mesut Ozil and Niasse; there are others who deserve mention and attention. Hence, in this article, we take you through a list of the top 10 soccer players who are Muslims.
This list is a collection of the greatest Muslim soccer players gracing the football pitch in 2023.
Top 10 Most Popular Muslim Soccer Players in 2023
Soccer is a truly global sport. Millions of young men and women play it on the grassroots level. And at the elite level by players who are household names.
People play it in almost every country in the world. In fact, most players in the English Premier League are foreign, playing for the top teams. Many soccer players have converted to Islam. Some have taken on Muslim names. And some are practicing Muslims while they play soccer at the same time.
Sometimes in the world of sports, one might come across a footballer from a different nation, with a different culture and religion, which can make it all look very natural. Muslim players have always been an essential part of the beautiful game.
Here’s a list of top Muslim soccer players who are practicing Islam and playing soccer professionally!
1. Mohamed Salah
Liverpool and Egypt right-winger Mohamed Salah is one of the most famous Muslim soccer players globally. His soccer skills are as good as any player’s on the planet. And his goal celebrations are just as good as his soccer skills. A devout Muslim, he bows down to Allah after scoring a goal by planting his face into the ground, much like a Muslim praying. People call him “the Egyptian King” and “the new Messi”. It’s because of his good skills and ability to bring together fans of all faiths.
He was the star player on the Egyptian national team in 2018 when they qualified to play in the World Cup. He had been previously named Man of the Match three times during England’s 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign.
2. Ngolo Kante
Ngolo Kante is one of soccer’s fastest-rising stars in the world, currently playing for Chelsea. His first major win was when Chelsea defeated Manchester City in 2021 to win the UEFA Champions League. He became the man of the match by having a stellar game, including a goal and a brilliant assist. This was Kante’s first season with Chelsea after moving from Leicester City, winning the Premier League in 2020. He has since become a key player for the team.
In addition to being a talented soccer player, Ngolo Kante is also a practicing Muslim. He prays at least five times each day, studies Arabic, and regularly gives to charity.
3. Riyad Mahrez
Manchester City’s midfielder Riyad Mahrez is one of the best Muslim soccer players in the world. He made his debut for the club in the opening day win against Arsenal.
Hailing from Sarcelles, France, Mahrez initially signed with Leicester City. He soon became a fan favorite for his hard-working style of play. And for taking on opponents with his speed on the ball.
He scored dozens of goals in his first season at Leicester, helping them win their first Premier League title. And nicknamed “the Algerian Jewel” after scoring a Premier League hat trick.
Later, Mahrez moved to Manchester City for a whopping million dollars. He has scored many goals and contributed several assists since joining the team.
Mahrez’s biggest influence is former French international Zinedine Zidane, who he says played a big role in making him a great player. He also cites Cristiano Ronaldo as one of his idols, saying that Ronaldo’s professionalism on and off the field has inspired him.
4. Paul Pogba
The Frenchman has been a revelation since joining Manchester United. He is one of the most popular Muslim footballers on the planet. He has been known to sport a number of styles for his hair, including cornrows and an undercut with a beard. In addition to his haircuts being legendary, Pogba’s goal celebrations are extremely creative, including the “dab” dance and other choreographed moves.
Paul Pogba cemented his position as one of the best players in Manchester United’s history. He achieved this feat by scoring on his debut and winning the FA Cup in his first season.
In addition, he has won both the Premier League and Champions League with Chelsea and Manchester United, respectively, which is something no other player has done in the history of either club. Paul Pogba also has very good soccer skills, which he puts on display with some amazing dribbling maneuvers every season.
The midfielder often draws inspiration from his Muslim faith for performances on the pitch. It has earned him a reputation for being one of the most respected players in world football.
5. Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane is a versatile attacker who combines fast pace and ruthless finishing. Born into a Muslim family in Senegal, he grew up playing soccer with his brothers and sisters on a small dirt field.
While still very young, scouts spotted him while playing in a local league in his hometown. He was then selected to play for the country’s best youth training program, which ended up sending him to Europe. He played his first professional game at just 16 years old. And, since then, he has demonstrated his skill as an attacker in almost every league he has been in.
He is best known for his speed and ability to finish chances. But is also well-known for his strong work ethic, dedication to Islam’s sports, and love of Islam.
He has said that “Islam is a part of me” and that “being Muslim makes me better.” His fans have even created a song dedicated to him, which they sing when he scores for Liverpool. He often credits this support as part of what motivates him to play well. Fans across the world also love him for his good friend Mo Salah.
6. Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan is a Muslim footballer who currently plays for Manchester City in the Premier League and German football team. He is known for his versatility on the pitch, passing accuracy, and good soccer skills. Ilkay was born to Turkish parents in the city of Gelsenkirchen in 1990.
He is known as a hardworking player on the field. While off it, he has shown himself to be a devout Muslim. Gundogan has shared that he appreciates “the culture and history” of Islam. And he uses his platform to spread a message of tolerance for all people and religions alike. He has been noted as an outspoken critic of anti-Muslim discrimination, which he has called “unacceptable.”
7. Antonio Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger is a professional Muslim soccer player who is currently playing for Chelsea in the English Premier League. He is a versatile footballer. People know him for his fierce tackling, fast feet, and dominant aerial presence. Therefore, he has very good soccer skills and can be used in various positions, including center back, right back, and defensive midfielder.
Antonio was born to a Muslim family in Berlin. He began playing soccer at a young age and was exceptional at it. It wasn’t long until he caught the attention of many top-tier football clubs such as RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, VfB Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen, and Chelsea, where he currently plays.
8. Saïd Benrahma
One of the most prominent Muslim soccer players in the world today is Saïd Benrahma. He plays for the Algerian national team and the West Ham United club in England. He was the third most expensive player in the history of Argentina. And the club considers him to be one of their greatest players and a key factor in their success.
Saïd Benrahma is known as “The Magician”. It’s because of his ability to unlock any defense with his incredible soccer skills. He has made a name for himself with his creative passing abilities and uncanny ability to fake out opponents. His goal celebration after he scores involves him saying “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” in Arabic. In addition to being a famous football player, Saïd Benrahma also loves being Muslim and often speaks about it.
9. Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is a well-known German footballer of Turkish descent. He has the ability to captivate audiences with his impressive ball-handling skills. He has been active in the German football league system since 2009. And recently transferred to the Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce in a permanent transfer deal.
A devout Muslim, Ozil has demonstrated his commitment to Islam by incorporating Islamic teachings into his life as a practicing Muslim. He is very proud of his Muslim heritage. And he has never hidden his love for Islam, which he practices by praying five times per day and eating halal food. He also enjoys reciting the Qur’an and quotes it regularly on his Twitter account.
10. Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema is a famous Muslim soccer player. He plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid and the French national team. And he has competed in FIFA World Cups, UEFA European Championship, and the UEFA Champions League finals. He is famous for his exceptional shooting skills.
When it comes to faith, Benzema is very open about being Muslim and his practices as a Muslim. In 2016, he made Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca with his family. The experience of meeting people from all over the world who share his faith and beliefs was a powerful experience for him. And it has helped him to become even more involved in the Islamic community.
He also loves Islamic teachings, including those about fasting during Ramadan. In fact, he played several games during this month while observing Ramadan fasts.
This article references all Muslim soccer players who have achieved fame in the sport despite facing adversity for their religious beliefs. It also encourages young Muslims to pursue their dreams, even when doing so seems impossible.
Is there a famous Muslim football player that we forgot to mention? Let us know so we can add them to our top 10 list!