Football is a sport that embraces diversity in backgrounds, race, socioeconomic status, and religious beliefs. Within the realm of football, religious believers, Muslims in particular, have been instrumental contributors, dazzling fans globally with their exceptional performances across various leagues.
From the likes of Paul Pogba to Zinedine Zidane and Karim Mostafa Benzema to Ousmane Dembele, below is a list of the 10 best Muslim footballers (active and retired) in the world:
Best Muslim Footballers In the World
1. Karim Benzema
Karim Mostafa Benzema is a prominent figure among the Muslim athletes, presently showcases his talents as a striker for the Saudi Pro League’s Al-Ittihad.
His career has been a tapestry of success, establishing him as one of the world’s premier strikers, and also securing the position of the second-highest goal scorer in the history of Real Madrid, staggering 342 goals at 35 years old.
His multifaceted abilities, from scoring goals to facilitating midfield play and intricate dribbling, have paved the way for numerous domestic and international awards. Among his accolades stand five UEFA Champions League titles and four La Liga championships.
His accolades also boast the prestigious Ballon d’Or triumph in 2022, a testament to his exceptional abilities. This milestone also positioned him alongside Zinedine Zidane as the second Muslim footballer in history to achieve this honor, following Zidane’s 1998 triumph.
2. Mohamed Salah
The Liverpool FC and Egypt forward is widely considered one of the greatest Muslim footballers to grace the game. Salah proudly displays his faith on the field, often observed silently praying or kneeling in gratitude whenever he finds the net.
He stands as one of Egypt’s finest football talents, contributing significantly to his nation’s sporting legacy. His knack for scoring goals and mesmerizing skills have etched his name among the most illustrious players in football history.
Playing as a right-winger/striker for Liverpool and Egypt, Salah’s repertoire includes dazzling dribbling and exceptional finishing abilities. His standout achievement remains propelling Egypt to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, marking their return after 28-year.
In addition, Salah amasses tons of awards including, Golden Boot, Player of the Month, Player of the Year, African Player of the Year, Puskás Award, FWA Footballer of the Year, and lots more. His remarkable and incredible gameplay has secured him a top stop on our listicle of best Muslim players footballers in the world.
3. Mesut Özil
Mesut Özil is a professional former German midfielder who deeply treasures his Muslim heritage—inherited from his Turkish immigrant parents.
Though retired (at 34), Özil openly displays his faith on the football pitch, often captured silently praying before kick-off, a heartfelt expression of his beliefs. At the pinnacle of his career, he stood among football’s elite as one of the finest playmakers and pass makers.
In addition to his religious practice, Özil devoutly observes fasting during Ramadan while showcasing his talents for Arsenal. Before his retirement from football, he set a record as the fastest player to achieve 50 assists during his time in the Premier League.
4. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is a professional footballer that stands as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. While recognized for his flamboyant style and trendy hairstyles, many aren’t aware that; beyond his football prowess, this French World Cup hero is also a devout Muslim, deeply committed to his faith.
Born on 15th march 1993, the 30-year old French player remains vocal about the impact of his faith, attributing it to shaping him into a “better person.
” He displays his devotion publicly. Videos occasionally surface of Pogba undertaking the Hajj to Mecca, underscoring his profound religious convictions.
His pride in his Muslim identity positioned him at the esteemed fourth spot among our top 10 finest Muslim football players worldwide.
Notably, he refrains from alcohol, going to great lengths to avoid being photographed near any alcoholic beverage containers, as evidenced during the 2020 Euros when he removed beer bottles during a press conference.
5. Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane isn’t just among the finest Muslim players in history, but he stands tall as one of the best footballers in the history of football.
Born in Marseille, France, in 1972, Zidane’s career as a midfielder earned him World Cup triumphs, UEFA Champions League glories, and the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Zidane’s crowning moment came in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where his two goals in the final against Brazil secured France’s victory, etching his name into football history. Zidane’s influence continues to inspire future generations, cementing his status as a legendary figure in the beautiful game.
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6. Riyad Mahrez
Ranked at the prestigious 6th spot on our list, the Algerian player, Riyad Mahrez, renowned for his football skills and Dibbles, is a Muslim who we often see kneeling and bowing in gratitude after netting a goal.
Playing in one of the best Saudi Pro League clubs, Al-Ahli, together with other reputable players, Mahrez is arguably on of the best Muslim player in the world. Riyad Mahrez consistently dazzles on the field, showcasing stellar performances in both club and national teams.
His impressive track record, boasting Premier League victories and Africa Cup of Nations success, signifies his profound influence in football.
Among the titles he has won include; Algerian Football of the Year, Premier League Team of the Year, CAF Finest XI, African Footballer of the Year and PFA Players’ Player of the Year.
Additionally, before his movement to Al-Ahli, Riyad Mahrez played for Manchester City. His contributions aided Manchester City in securing multiple EPL titles, and he played a pivotal role in Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph.
7. Sadio Mane
At the esteemed 7th position, Sadio Mane embodies brilliance on the field and a kind-hearted nature off it. Proudly embracing his Muslim identity, Mane actively engages in charitable endeavors.
His recent triumphs include clinching the UEFA Champions League title with Liverpool and a commendable 4th place finish in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Additinally, Mane secured victory at the 2021 AFCON with Senegal. Mane, like many Muslim players in Europe, ventured into a new chapter with a deal at Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, playing side by side with Cristiano Ronaldo and others.
Notably, Sadio Mane openly displays his Muslim faith on the soccer field, often commemorating goals with expressions of his devotion.
Sadio Mane operates as a left winger/striker for both club and Senegal National team, recognized for his versatility in finishing, speed, and proficiency with either foot.
8. Franck Ribery
The former French international, born in Algeria, never shied away from expressing his beliefs, openly discussing them in interviews.
Initially not born into the Muslim faith, the sensational winger underwent a conversion from Christianity to Islam in 2002, adopting the name Bilal Yusuf Mohammed. Notably, his wife played a significant role in influencing this profound decision.
Hailed as a Bayern Munich icon, his pivotal role in Bayern Munich’s UEFA Champions League triumph in 2013 stands as a testament to his prowess.
9. N’Golo Kante
The French international showcased an unforgettable season at Chelsea, securing the Champions League victory and earning the Player of the Match accolade in the final. With Malian heritage, he’s widely recognized for devoutly practicing Islam, frequently dedicating his goals to Allah.
N’Golo Kanté, born in Paris to Malian immigrants, emerged as one of football’s premier defensive midfielders. His illustrious career boasts a FIFA World Cup triumph, UEFA Champions League glory, Premier League honors, and UEFA Nations League conquests.
Noteworthy individual accolades, including the PFA Player, French Player of the Year, and FWA Footballer of the Year, embellish his exceptional journey.
In 2023, N’Golo Kanté ventured to Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League, marking a new chapter in his career.
10. Dembélé Dembélé
Masour Ousmane Dembélé is one of the best Muslim footballers in the world. Born on May 15, 1997, Ousmane Dembélé is a French professional winger for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the France national team.
This 2018 FIFA World Cup champion, captured the attention of audience during his Borussia Dortmund tenure, netting 10 goals and delivering 20 assists across 50 appearances, despite grappling with recurring injuries.
Hailed by player and fans, Dembele is seen as a rising talent in football, mastering both wings and utilizing his technical finesse, speed, and agility to outmaneuver opponents.
Above is our list on the best Muslim footballers in the world. From the likes of Karim Benzema to Masour Ousmane Dembélé, these athletes showcase talent and skills, putting the Muslim religious faith up high in the realm of soccer.
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