Top Muslim Football Players in the English Premier League 2022/23

By Moiz Mustafa | 11, Aug, 2022
Top Muslim Football Players in the English Premier League 2022/23

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 nations have their own football leagues which offer young talent to grow all over the world showcasing the best skills and sportsmanship. The English Premier League (EPL or BPL) is hailed to be the best league in the world due to its competitiveness, mix of players, and viewership worldwide. 

Nicolas Anelka, Kolo Toure, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Adebayor, and many more Premier League Muslim players are notable examples from the past.

Let's have a look at the top Muslim Football Players in the English Premier League season-by-season!

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2022/2023 Season

The English Premier League lost two key players from last season. Sadio Mane moved to Bayern Munich, while Paul Pogba transferred to Juventus.

Recently, Sadio Mane was also named African Player of the Year. Read it here!

Now on to the list for the 2022/2023 season!

 

Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)Mohamed Salah Liverpool Egypt

Image Credit: Fars Media CorporationCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Egyptian King was named The Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year and The Professional Footballers' Association Men's Players' Player of the Year for 2021-22 after helping Liverpool to a domestic cup double.

Mohammed Salah will now extend his stay at Anfield after signing a deal with Liverpool, ensuring that he will be "running down the wing" for another three years. He has already produced an incredible 156 goals in 254 games.

The 30-year-old is presently ranked ninth as the all-time Liverpool's leading goalscorer.

Interesting Fact: To get to training, young Salah had to travel nine hours round trip in different buses from his birthplace to Cairo. He did this for over four years, five days each week.

 

Ilkay Gundogan (Germany, Manchester City)Ilkay Gundogan Manchester City Germany

Image Credit: Steffen PrößdorfCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

İlkay plays as a midfielder for Manchester City in the English Premier League and for Germany's National Football Team. He is a key member of the squad and one of the manager's first names on the team-sheet.

On the final day of the 2021/22 season, Ilkay Gundogan scored a heroic brace to help Manchester City win the Premier League in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Beginning in 2021, Ilkay began assisting UNHCR by utilizing his public platform to promote awareness of and generate money for refugees all over the world. The UNHCR launched a winter campaign in January 2021 with the goal of assisting refugees who were struggling with the harsh winter conditions in several Middle Eastern nations.

Interesting Fact: İlkay literally means First/New Moon and Gündoğan translates to the dawn of the day and is traditionally a name given to a baby born at sunrise.

 

Ngolo Kante (France, Chelsea)Ngolo Kante Chelsea France

Image Credit: N'Golo Kanté on Twitter

Since joining Chelsea in the summer of 2016, N'Golo Kante has solidified his position as perhaps the best ball-winning midfield midfielder in the world.

In the dawn of 2022, Kante was selected for the UEFA Men's Midfielder of the Year award, included in the FIFA FIFPro Men's World 11, and made the Ballon d'Or shortlist.

Kante has also captained Chelsea on multiple occasions, including the famous Champions League Quarter Final match against Real Madrid in April, 2022.

Interesting Fact: Kante was too shy to hold the World Cup trophy during the 2018 World Cup celebrations. To allow the humble midfielder to hold the trophy, his teammates had to step aside.

 

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City)Riyad Mahrez Manchester City Algeria

Image Credit: Riyad Mahrez on Twitter

Riyad possessed great technique, control, and skill from a young age, making it obvious that he had magic in his boots.

The elegant Algerian winger turns defenders inside out with his trickery and technique, making him a joy to watch.

Mahrez shone throughout the 2021/22 season, ending the campaign as the top scorer with 24 goals from 47 games.

After an outstanding season, he was a close second in the voting for the Etihad Player of the Season.

Interesting Facts: When Mahrez’s brother, Walid, who is also his manager, told him about Leicester City, he thought it was a rugby club.

 

Naby Keita (Guinea, Liverpool)
Naby Keita with Bundesliga trophy

Image Credit: Ailura, CC BY-SA 3.0 ATCC BY-SA 3.0 AT, via Wikimedia Commons

The international player for Guinea dons Liverpool's No. 8 jersey and frequently uses the middle of the field to display his impressive range of abilities.

He possesses a rare and useful combination of skills, including the ability to tackle, take on defenders, intercept, switch the play, transition swiftly, dissect or neutralize the opposition, and control the tempo of his team.

Keita appeared 23 times for Liverpool in the 2021/2022 season, scoring three goals. He was an integral part of the team, helping them win the FA Cup 2022 and the Caraboa Cup 2022.

 

Saïd Benrahma (Algeria, West Ham United)Said Benrahma West Ham Algeria

Image Credit: Said Benrahma on Instagram

Said Benrahma is a professional football player who currently plays for English Premier League (EPL) club West Ham and the Algerian national team.

In 2020, West Ham paid about £21.75 million for the Algerian international, who became the third most expensive player in the club's history.

He scored eight goals for West Ham United in the 2021/22 season, along with six assists.

Interesting Fact: Saïd has six sisters and one brother, and he is the youngest.

 

Kurt Zouma (France, West Ham United)
Kurt Zouma West Ham signing

Image Credit: Kurt Zouma on Instagram

Zouma joined West Ham United in August 2021 for a £29.8 million fee, signing a four-year contract.

In his first season, Zouma provided the West Ham defense with experience and leadership, enabling them to get to the UEFA Europa League semifinals.

He scored his first and only goal of the 2021/22 season against Liverpool, which won his team the match 3-2.

Zouma was spotted in Mecca in 2019 alongside his friend Paul Pogba.

Interesting Fact: Zouma is named after Kurt Sloane, Jean-Claude Van Damme's character in the 1989 film Kickboxer.

 

New Muslim players to watch out for in the Premier League:

  • Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli to Chelsea - £34m)
  • Nayef Aguerd (Rennes to West Ham - £30m)
  • Cheick Doucoure (Lens to Crystal Palace - £22m)
  • Moussa Niakhate (Mainz to Nottingham Forest - £13m)
  • Boubacar Kamara (Marseille to Aston Villa – free transfer)

 

2021/22 Season

Let's have a look at some of the best Muslim football players in the English Premier League (EPL) for the 2021/22 season and discover which team they represent.

Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)

Mohammad Salah is probably the world's most well-known Muslim footballer.

Salah, a right-winger/striker for Liverpool and Egypt, is known for his exquisite dribbling and fantastic finishing, which aided him shattering the single-season goal record with 32 goals and 10 assists in the 2017/18 season.

Mohamed Salah, often nicknamed as “The Egyptian King”, "The Pharoah" or "The Egyptian Messi" by fans throughout the world, is without a doubt one of the finest football players on the planet.

Salah's signature goal celebration sees him doing Sujood.

READ: The Egyptian Magician: Mohamed Salah Joins 100-Goal Club in the English Premier League

 

Ngolo Kante (France, Chelsea)

Kante joined Chelsea from Leicester City, where he so memorably played a major part in the Foxes’ Premier League triumph the previous season.

He was chosen man of the match when Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1–0 in the 2021 UEFA Champions League Final in Porto to win his first UEFA Champions League.

Arsène Wenger described Kanté's performance as "unbelievable", and commentators argued that Kanté's performance in the Champions League put him in contention for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

Ngolo Kante's journey to the top as a midfield general is pretty inspiring.

 

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City)

Riyad Mahrez made his Manchester City debut in the opening day win against Arsenal in August 2018 and scored his first goal in the 5-0 win over Cardiff City in September 2018.

Mahrez is known as the “Algerian Jewel”, he is the first Algerian to score a Premier League hat-trick. At his best, the silky-skilled Algerian playmaker is both unplayable and a joy to watch.

 

Paul Pogba (France, Manchester United)

Paul Pogba is widely considered as one of this generation's most brilliant midfielders.

In 2016, he signed a five-year contract with the former club Manchester United for £89.3 million. His haircuts are legendary, and he is known for his imaginative goal celebrations.

His tremendous fitness, magnificent passing range, and great eye for goal have only gotten better with time, cementing his position as one of the best players in Manchester United.

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.”

 

Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool)

Mane, who plays with Salah and Roberto Firmino on the left side of Klopp's lethal front three, is a versatile attacker who combines fast pace and merciless finishing with great tactical knowledge.

Sadio Mane has established himself as one of the top attackers in the world. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 2020.

Mané finished fourth for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, and in the award for the Best FIFA Men's Player, he ranked fifth in 2019 and fourth in 2020.

 

Ilkay Gundogan (Germany, Manchester City)

Ilkay Gundogan joined Manchester City in the summer of 2016.

At Manchester City, Gündoğan is used in a number of midfield roles at Manchester City, including as a holding midfielder, demonstrating his numerous attributes such as vision, work rate, technical skills, and adaptability.

He is a key member of Pep Guardiola's squad and one of the manager's first names on the team sheet.

 

Antonio Rudiger (Germany, Chelsea)

Antonio Rudiger joined Chelsea from the Italian side Roma on 9 July 2017. He signed a five-year contract.

Rudiger is a fierce tackler who is fast on his feet and commands the air. Despite spending most of his career in center defense, he is comfortable at the fullback position as well.

Rüdiger was selected in the German squad at the Euro 2020 and played every single minute of their campaign. He was instrumental in their 4-2 win over Portugal.

 

Saïd Benrahma (Algeria, West Ham United)

The Algerian international joined West Ham as the third most expensive player in their club history for a fee of roughly £21.75m in 2020.

Saïd Benrahma is a unique talent capable of unlocking any defense and scoring spectacular goals.

Benrahma scored his first international goal in a 4–0 away triumph against Djibouti in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on November 12, 2021. He was called up to Algeria's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations team and is currently on international duty at the African Cup of Nations 2022.

 

 

2020/21 Season

Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)

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 ChelseaFiorentina, 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.

 

Paul Pogba (France, Manchester United)

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 Year2015 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.

 

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Manchester City)

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 LeagueFA 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.

 

Mesut Özil (Germany, Arsenal)

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.

 

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco, Chelsea)

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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