Updated: Thanks to all those who commented, there are now 98 muslim football players in this years world cup in Brazil.
Muslims are obviously anticipating the arrival of Ramadan more than the World Cup, with Ramadan due to start at the end of the month.
Non the less all football fans will be glued to their television sets watching their favourite team play in the World Cup 2014. Among them will be many muslim players.
Because I watch the Premier League more than any other league, I am not too familiar with the other football players around the world who are muslims. I’ve tried my best to add all the Muslim footballers from the world cup 2014 here, I went through all the squads and picked out all the muslim players from all 32 teams. Some were obvious, others not so much so if I have missed any let me know by leaving a comment so I can add them to the list.
Muslim Players of the World Cup 2014 by Continent
There are 32 countries competing for the world cup and each country has a squad of 23 players so, we’ll do a run down by continent and see who and how many of them are muslims in each squad.
A total of 13 teams from Europe are competing in this years World Cup, this is the most teams from a continent. Most of the players despite being from other nations they play their league football in Europe, England and Wales leading with 124 players alone. So how many of them are muslim players?
This Belgium team has some very good world-class players in their squad.
Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (Tottenham), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Man United), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).
There should no surprises if a lot or all of the Bosnian players are muslims, as they are a predominantly muslim country.
Update: thanks to Mahmud, most of the Bosnian Players in the team are Muslim.
Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic (Stoke City), Asmir Avdukic (Borac Banja Luka), Jasmin Fejzic (VFR Aalen).
Defenders: Emir Spahic (Bayer Leverkusen), Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), Ermin Bicakcic (Eintracht Braunschweig), Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros), Mensur Mujdza (Freiburg).
Midfielders: Miralem Pjanic (Roma), Izet Hajrovic (Galatasaray), Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), Senad Lulic (Lazio), Anel Hadzic (Sturm), Tino Susic (Hajduk), Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim), Senijad Ibricic (Erciyesspor), Avdija Vrsaljevic (Hajduk).
Strikers: Vedad Ibisevic (VfB Stuttgart), Edin Dzeko (Manchester City), Edin Visca (Istanbul BB).
France has many North African descendants, there are a lot of muslim players from France who are playing in various leagues around the world. With the omission of Samir Nasri from the French squad and Bilal Ribery injured; let’s have a look at how many muslims footballers have made it in the France squad for World cup 2014.
Defenders: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool).
Midfield: Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Paul Pogba (Juventus).
Strikers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid).
Another European nation with many muslim migrants especially from Turkey.
Defenders: Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria).
Midfielders: Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal).
The Swiss squad has a few muslims, although they are Swiss citizens some of them are of Albanian descent. Among them is one player, the former Fulham defender who became muslim in 2012.
Defenders: Philippe Senderos (Valencia).
Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Napoli), Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli), Gokhan Inler (Napoli), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg), Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach).
Muslim Football Players from Africa
Africa have the 3rd highest amount of teams (5) competing for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, most of their players play in foreign leagues across the world. Africa also has a high number of muslims especially in North Africa.
Will you be surprised if the entire squad is Muslim?
Goalkeepers: Rais Mbolhi (CSKA Sofia), Cedric Si Mohamed (CS Constantine), Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche (USM Alger).
Defenders: Essaid Belkalem (Watford, on loan from Granada), Madjid Bougherra (Lekhwya Club), Faouzi Ghoualm (Napoli), Rafik Halliche (Academica Coimbra), Aissa Mandi (Stade Reims), Djamel Mesbah (Livorno), Mehdi Mostefa (AC Ajaccio).
Midfielders: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham), Yasine Brahimi (Granada), Medhi Lacen (Getafe), Saphir Taider (Inter Milan), Hassan Yebda (Udinese).
Forwards: Abdelmoumene Djabou (Club Africain), Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia), Nabil Ghilas (Porto), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Hilal Soudani (Dinamo Zagreb).
Another African nation which has a good population of muslims in their country. The Ayew brothers, despite having names which are not traditional muslim names are actually muslim.
Defenders: Rashid Sumalia (Mamelodi Sundowns).
Midfielders: Sulley Muntari (AC Milan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Andre Ayew (Marseille), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan).
Forwards: Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke 04), Jordan Ayew (Sochaux).
The West African nation has 5 muslim players in their squad, among them is Yaya Toure who is one of the best footballers in the World!
Updated list thanks to bin Khalid’s good observations.
Defenders: Kolo Toure (Liverpool F.C), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor).
Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle), Diomande Ismael (Saint Etienne), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover).
Forwards: Gervinho (Roma), Salomon Kalou (Lille).
A very large muslim nation from Africa, not expecting many muslim players in their squad though.
Midfielders: Ramon Azeez (Almeria)
Forward: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow)
Asia has 3 teams competing in the World Cup this year, Korea Republic, Japan and Iran. No prizes for guessing which nation has Muslim players in it.
Iran should have an all muslim squad because they are a muslim country.
Goalkeepers: Alireza Haghighi (Sporting Covilha, on loan from Rubin Kazan), Rahman Ahmadi (Sepahan).
Defenders: Hossein Mahini (Persepolis), Pejman Montazeri (Umm Salal), Jalal Hosseini (Persepolis), Amir-Hossein Sadeghi (Esteghlal), Ahmad Alenemeh (Naft), Hashem Beikzadeh (Esteghlal), Mehrdad Pouladi (Persepolis).
Midfielders: Javad Nekounam (Kuwait SC), Reza Haghighi (Persepolis), Ghasem Haddadifar (Zob Ahan), Bakhtiar Rahmani (Foolad), Ehsan Hajsafi (Sepahan).
Forwards: Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham), Masoud Shojaei (Las Palmas), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (NEC Nijmegen), Reza Ghoochannejhad (Charlton), Karim Ansarifard (Tractor Saz, on loan from Persepolis), Khosro Heydari (Esteghlal).
So there you have it! All of the muslim footballers competing in this year’s World cup in Brazil. In total there are
87 98 of them from 10 teams spanning 3 Continents, no players are Muslim from North America, South America and Australia in this year’s World Cup.
World Cup 2014 squad data taken from the BBC.
Cover Image and Nations Picture from Vector Open Stock