There are many Muslim footballers whose fans do not really know their religion. Well, religion plays no part in the field of play but it won’t be bad to know which of the world’s famous soccer players are Muslims. Many of them bear Christian names but are actually Muslims and others who bear Muslim names and are Christians. EverySport will be looking two French nationals that are Muslims although they bear Christian names.
Franc Henry Pierre Ribery is born to Christian parents Francois Ribery and Marie-Pierre Ribery. Ribery’s early life is characterized by hardship and pain, he and his family were involved in a ghastly motor accident when he was two years old. He sustained severe facial injuries that were stitched and has remained a scar on his face. The French man was nicknamed “Scarface” because of the scar the accident left on his face.
However, he is not angry with scar according to him “the scar is part of me and so if anyone loves me, he/she should take the way I am.” He accepted the nickname because “it reminds me of my painful past and it keeps me going”. Franc Ribery is a popular figure in football and he has won several awards and trophies as well.
Franc Ribery’s Conversion
In his early life, he fell in love with a French national with Algerian descent who is closely related to his teammate Karim Benzema. Her name is Wahiba Belhami, and she is Muslim. She and Ribery were in a relationship for long even before he became a superstar. Franc Ribery finally proposed to her but she said she will accept on the condition that he become a Muslim.
In 2006, Ribery embraced Islam and became a Muslim, he was given an Islamic name afterward. The news came to public notice after Ribery prayed the Muslim way before every match. The former Bayern Munich star has since been faithful in his new faith. He said: “Islam is a religion of peace and it has helped me move on strong in life.” Ribery and his wife are blessed with four children and he currently plays for Italian Serie A side Florentina. His Muslim name is Bilal Yusuf Mohammed.
Anelka is one player who has played for more clubs side than any other player. He has played for PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahce, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua, Juventus, West Bromwich Albion, and Mumbai City FC. Anelka is born Christian parents but chooses to be a Muslim.
His conversion was hinged on the care and love shown to him when he was in Fenerbahce by a family there. He was initially hiding his Islamic identity from the general public. Unlike his colleague Franc Ribery, who pray the Islamic way before every match, Anelka completely hid his Muslim identity. Speaking in an interview he said: “For me, religion is a personal matter, need not be disclosed to the public,” he explained.
He later opened up to be a Muslim and said he became a Muslim in 2006 and it was his move to Turkey that influenced the change. Therefore, his full name now is Nicolas Sebastien Anelka.
Speaking to the press he said: “I had a tough career. I then determined to find peace. Finally, I found Islam.”
“Embracing Islam has changed my life positively and it has helped me act wisely.” According to him, Islam is what lies behind his quiet attitude while competing on the field. “Islam helped me a lot to be calm and concentrated and have high morale,” he added. Anelka is married to a Belgian woman, Barbara Tausia.