Friday June 21, 2024

International footballers who embraced Islam

In the past, well-known football stars from around the world converted to Islam

By Rafique Mangat
February 26, 2024
Spanish football star Jose Ignacio can be seen. — Instagram/@kingjota23
Spanish football star Jose Ignacio can be seen. — Instagram/@kingjota23

ISLAMABAD: Spanish football star Jose Ignacio (Jota) Peleterio is the latest addition to many footballers around the world who embraced Islam.

In the past, well-known football stars from around the world converted to Islam, including German defender Robert Bauer, Holland star Clarence Seedorf, Barcelona club star Eric Abidal, Ghanaian star Thomas Partey, French footballer Franck Ribery, Mali’s Frederic Canute, Manchester United star Paul Pogba, French footballer Nicolas Anelka, Togo’s former captain Emmanuel Adebayor, German footballer Rudy Blum, Nigeria’s defender Emeka Ezego and England’s Natha Ellington are included.

According to the report, Pelletrio, who plays for Spanish football club Eibar, British football club Brentford and Birmingham City, announced in the video that he has become a Muslim. The Turkish news agency quoted the Spanish media outlet Marca as saying that the 32-year-old Pelletrio converted to Islam after learning about the religion from his friend of 11 years, former Kuwaiti footballer Faisal Boresli. He said that he was very happy and empowered to be a Muslim, adding that joining the fold of Islam was the best moment of his life, and for that he thanked Boresli. Pelletrio said that when he had dinner at Borriselli’s house, his mother presented him with a cake that read “Welcome to Islam.”

Born in northwestern Spain, Pelletiero retired from football in 2021. In September 2023, German defender Robert Bauer of Saudi Arabia’s Altai Football Club converted to Islam. In March 2022, Clarence Seedorf, a well-known football player from the Netherlands, accepted Islam. He admitted that he was introduced to Islam by his Iranian-born wife, Sofia. Clarence Seedorf, the only footballer in the world to win the trophy with three different clubs in the history of the Champions League, announced his conversion to Islam through an Instagram post.

French footballer and Barcelona club star Eric Abidal converted to Islam in 2007. Diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011, he said that Islam helped him through difficult times. Ghanaian footballer, Arsenal star, Thomas Partey converted to Islam in 2022. He revealed that he had converted to Islam because of his Moroccan girlfriend Sara Bella. French footballer Franck Ribery converted to Islam in 2002. He had a distinguished career in Europe, being ranked the fourth best player in the world by the Guardian in 2013. He won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award in 2013. Ribery announced his conversion to Islam in 2002 after marrying his Algerian wife Wahiba Belhami.

Former Mali international Frederic Canute converted to Islam in 1999 while playing in France. In 2020, he raised more than a million dollars to build the first mosque in Seville in 700 years. French soccer star Paul Pogba of Manchester United converted to Islam. In 2017, he performed Haj. French footballer Nicolas Anelka converted to Islam at the age of sixteen. He named himself Abdul Salim Bilal. Emmanuel Adebayor, former captain of Togo and playing for the Turkish club, also accepted Islam.

German footballer Danny Blum announced his conversion to Islam in January 2015. A former Nigerian football defender and midfielder who played in the 1994 World Cup, Emekaizyogo converted to Islam in February 2012. England’s Nathan Ellington, a former Premier League striker, converted to Islam in 2005 after marrying his Bosnian wife Alma. In 2011, he formed the Muslim Footballers Association.