The number of Muslim football players in the English Premier League has steadily increased over time since the league began in 1992. Let us take a look at the top Muslim football players in the English Premier League (EPL) and see which team they play for. Some of the names will surprise you and they are listed in no particular order.
Football, (aka Soccer) has an estimated fan base of 3.5+ billion people around the world. It is one of the most-watched sports around the globe which represents players from different nationalities and backgrounds.
Most of the nations have their own football leagues which offer young talent to breed all over the world showcasing the best of skills and sportsmanship. The English Premier League (EPL) is hailed to be the best league in the world due to its competitiveness, mix of players, and viewership worldwide.
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Now to the list!
Image Credit: @MoSalah on Twitter
Born in Egypt, Salah began his professional career with the Egyptian club El Mokawloon followed by joining FC Basel in Switzerland. After short spells at Chelsea, Fiorentina, and Roma he finally joined Liverpool for a then club-record fee of £36.9 million.
The forward went on to break the Premier League scoring record by netting 32 goals in the 2017/2018 season securing the Premier League Golden Boot and PFA Players' Player of the Year after netting 32 goals in 36 league games.
His magical performance also handed him a third spot for the 2018 Best FIFA Men's Player award.
In the 2018/2019 season, Salah was the top join goalscorer and led Liverpool to win the UEFA Champions League.
Salah was key in helping Liverpool end its 30-year league title drought by winning the 2019–20 Premier League.
Famously known as the "The Pharoah" or "The Egyptian Messi" by fans worldwide, Mohamed Salah is easily one of the best football players around the world. Salah’s trademark goal celebration often involves performing Sujood.
Fun fact: During the 2008 presidential elections in Egypt, more than one million people added Salah’s name on their ballot paper casting him their vote. Salah would have been the second-best choice for the presidency had the votes been counted as legal.
Image Credit: @paulpogba on Twitter
Born in France, Pogba began his career with the Ligue 1 side Le Havre in 2007. Two years later he moved to Manchester United. Lack of chances led him to join Juventus where he established himself as one of the most promising young players in the world.
In 2013 he was awarded the Golden Boy title followed by the Bravo Award in 2014. Pogba made it into the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year, 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI, and also helped Juventus reach the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final.
Pogba returned back to Manchester United in 2016 for a world record transfer fee of €105 million (£89.3 million). At Manchester United, he won the League Cup and the Europa League in 2017. He was also named to the PFA Team of the Year in the 2018/2019 season.
Pogba’s biggest achievement was scoring the winning goal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
Asked what being a Muslim meant to him in The Times’ new LifeTimes podcast, Pogba said: “It’s everything. That’s what makes me thankful for everything. Islam is just this – respect of humanity and everything.”
Fun fact: Pogba's nickname is "Pogboom" because of his amazing long-range shots given by his brother.
Image Credit: @Mahrez22 on Twitter
Born in France, Mahrez began his career at the French club AAS Sarcelles. He turned professional in 2009 with Quimper followed by joining Le Havre. After three years in 2014, Mahrez signed for English side Leicester City.
He contributed to Leicesters’ Championship victory and were promoted to the Premier League at the end of his first season. He was awarded the Algerian Footballer of the Year, the PFA Players' Player of the Year, and was a member of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year in the 2015/16 season as Leicester City did the unthinkable by winning the Premier League.
Manchester City signed Mahrez to bolster their team in 2018 as they marched on to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup.
Fun Fact: Mahrez is known as the “Algerian Jewel”, he is the first Algerian to score a Premier League hat-trick.
Image Credit: @MesutOzil1088 on Twitter
Born in Germany, Özil started his journey with Schalke 04, his hometown club. Later he moved to Werder Bremen in 2008 where he won the DFB-Pokal in his first season at 19 years of age. His talent was scouted by Real Madrid which led to a move there in 2010. He was instrumental in helping Real Madrid win a La Liga title, with the highest league assists for three straight seasons.
In 2013, Arsenal signed Özil for a club-record transfer fee of £42.5 million (€50 million), making him the then-most expensive German player of all time. At Arsenal, Özil has bagged three FA Cups and contributed to ending Arsenal's nine-year trophy drought while recording the second-most assists ever (19) in a Premier League season.
Özil has been awarded 5 German Player of the Year awards, a record held by none before. At the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, he held the most number of assists.
Ozil is known to pray from the Quran before every match, in an interview with the Daily Star, he explained: “I always recite from the Quran before I go out (on the pitch). This really helps me to keep me focused.”
Fun fact: Did you know Mesut Özil is Lactose intolerant? The playmaker described the condition as “so unfair” as he is a self-confessed ice-cream addict.
Image Credit: @hziyech on Instagram
Born in the Netherlands, Ziyech began his career at Dutch club Heerenveen in 2012 followed by moving to Twente for two years. Ajax signed Ziyech for a 5-year deal in 2016, one of his most prolific seasons was in 2018/2019 where he scored 16 goals with 13 assists.
He was named in the 20 best players list for the UEFA Champions League 2018–19 season while also being ranked 29th in The Guardian's list of "The 100 best footballers in the world". In 2020, he joined Chelsea for a hefty transfer fee of €40 million.
Ziyech also represents Morocco at the international level as he was selected for their 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Fun fact: Hakim Ziyech's nationality is Dutch-Moroccan. He could play for both national teams but opted to defend the shirt of Morocco.
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