With countless professional footballers in the world, several Muslim stars have graced the pitch.
Muslim football players are among the greatest in the world and compete at high levels on the international pitch.
As the game of football has evolved over the last few decades, several Muslims have emerged as superstars inspiring the next generation of talent.
In no particular order, here are some of the world’s most notable Muslim professional football players.
After supporting the many superstars who have come and gone at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema has become the face of the club over the last few seasons – for more reasons than one.
Currently the second-highest goal scorer in the history of Madrid, with 342 goals, the 35-year-old has already engraved his legacy.
The ability of the star to score, deliver assists to midfielders, and dribble into the attacking box has allowed him to win numerous domestic and international titles with the star-studded Spaniards, including five UEFA Champions League titles and four La Liga titles.
Yet to slow down the efforts of winning 23 trophies with Madrid, Benzema reaped up his first-ever Ballon d’Or in 2022.
The triumph was momentous as Benzema became the second Muslim footballer in history, after Zinedine Zidane, to win the Ballon d’Or trophy. Zidane won the award in 1998.
It comes as no surprise that Senegal’s Sadio Mane was named among 30 players in the running for last year’s Ballon d’Or trophy.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year has done more for the game than earn the crown of scoring the fastest Premier League hat-trick, which was nailed in just 2 minutes 56 seconds.
Mane’s greatest conquest at an international level came at the Africa Cup of Nations 2021 when he converted his team’s fifth and final spot-kick to win the title, defeating his teammate Mohammed Salah.
Difficult to defend, the Senegalese striker has bailed out his team consistently on both the local and international levels.
After moving to Liverpool in 2016 from Southampton, Mane was unbeaten in his first 50 games at Anfield, winning 41 games and drawing nine to become the first player in Premier League history to achieve that.
Football’s GOAT Lionel Messi endorsed Mane, voting him as the 2019 FIFA Best Player of the Year, portraying the skill and class of the 31-year-old star.
A visionary on and off the field, Mohamed Salah’s most impressive achievement to date was helping Egypt qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the country’s first since 1990.
Still only reaching the age of 30, Salah has become one of the two greatest Premier League players of all time, as he has scored over 100 times in just four seasons since his move from Roma, ushering Liverpool to its sixth Champions League triumph and a first league title win in three decades the following year.
Fearsomely in solid shape, Salah has been tagged to the eyes of several clubs for his mastery on the pitch and, more importantly, his story of persistence.
Today the Egyptian star is deemed one of the best players in the world and among the greatest African players of all time for his speed, agility, and goal-scoring ability.
A 2018 FIFA World Cup champion, Ousmane Dembele created a craze during his term with Borussia Dortmund as the French star scored 10 goals and made 20 assists in 50 appearances for them.
Despite injuries stopping him from his full potential, the 25-year-old has achieved so much in his short appearances.
Dembele has featured in 150 competitive appearances for the Barcelona club, racking up 32 goals. Of those, 17 were scored with the left foot and 15 with the right, which shows how elastic he is using either leg.
Dembele is seen by his coach Xavi and fans as an underdog in football.
A winger who can play on either flank, Dembele employs his technical proficiency, speed, and agility to get past opponents or beat defenders in one-on-one situations.
Antonio Rudiger is one of the best centre-backs in the world.
The 30-year-old star was seen as flawless in the 2020-21 Champions League competition as Chelsea knocked his team now of Real Madrid, out of the semi-finals.
A strong firefighter on the pitch, Germany’s Rudiger boasts a high defensive IQ that has been witnessed locally and internationally.
Despite being eliminated from the Qatar World Cup during the group stage, as Germany finished third behind Japan and Spain, Rudiger’s solid physical attributes made him perform far better than his teammates.
The two-time FIFA Club winner and UEFA Supercup champion have positioned him to defend the biggest clubs in the world as they cruise into glory for the Champions League.
There’s no doubt about it that N’Golo Kante is a superb defensive midfielder.
A hidden weapon for Chelsea, the footballer will be remembered for his performance in the Champions League header as he created discomfort for Manchester City.
Named man of the match as he won his first UEFA Champions League, the 32-year-old has endured several injuries after his excellent performance in the English league and FIFA World Cup.
Today the road looks more favourable for the star as he returns to the pitch to edge Chelsea into an absent consistent league.
The Paris Saint Germain’s right-back Achraf Hakimi is a threat on the pitch for any opposition.
Despite playing in defence at PSG, Hakimi boasts a stunning 30-goal record, spinning in left-foot, right-foot and headers into the back of the net.
The Moroccan national made headlines at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 after taking his squad through a historic run at the tournament.
Hakimi’s boisterous defence and rapidness on the ball allowed the Moroccans to make history by becoming the first African and Arab team to reach the semi-finals at the global event.