Football Club Barcelona, widely known as Barcelona or Barca, stands as a professional football institution nestled in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. This esteemed club, actively participating in La Liga, boasts a lot of professional football players, with different religious beliefs.
While the disclosure of players’ religious beliefs within Barcelona Football Club and the football industry as a whole often remains private and is not publicly discussed or documented, we’ve taken our time to pinpoint the obvious Muslim players who have played or currently playing for Barcelona FC.
Hence, if you are looking forward to identifying the Muslim players in Barcelona Football Club—both male and female—this article is for you.
This article endeavors to shed light on the impactful presence of Muslim players, both male and female, who have graced and continue to adorn the iconic jerseys of Barcelona, leaving an indelible mark on the rich history and ethos of the club. Without further ado, let’s begin!
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Barcelona Male Muslim players
Barcelona Football Club welcomes talent from across the globe and various beliefs, with players hailing from South America, Europe, and Africa.
Identifying Muslim players within the Barcelona roster might not always be overt, as the club generally refrains from officially disclosing the religious affiliations of its players.
However, some athletes have openly acknowledged their Muslim identity, while for others, identification arises through their names or their country of origin. Below is a snapshot of Barcelona’s Muslim players:
1. Ousmane Dembele
Masour Ousmane Dembele is a French professional footballer renowned for his role as a right winger. Currently showcasing his talents for Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, he once donned the colors of Barcelona in 2017.
During his tenure at Barcelona, Dembele acquired three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey trophies, and two Supercopa de España triumphs.
Notably, his acquisition of €105 million from Dortmund to Barcelona at that time tied him as the joint-second most expensive footballer, alongside fellow Muslim compatriot Paul Pogba, whose move to Manchester United amounted to £89 million.
Beyond the realm of football, Ousmane Dembele stands as a dedicated follower of the Muslim faith, often sharing heartfelt acknowledgements of religious milestones on his social media platforms.
Amidst the highs and lows, Ousmane Dembele continues to carve his path, displaying unwavering dedication and resilience in the face of adversity.
2. Ibrahim Afellay
Coming next is Ibrahim Afellay, a distinguished Muslim footballer from the Netherlands, whose illustrious career once graced the esteemed ranks of Barcelona Football Club from 2010 to 2015. Ibrahim Afellay, now retired, is a professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder or winger for Barcelona.
During his tenure at Barcelona, Afellay brought forth his distinctive talents, contributing to the team’s prowess with his flair and strategic prowess as an attacking midfielder.
His legacy within the Barcelona ranks remains a testament to his dedication and skill, leaving an imprint on the club’s storied history that reverberates among fans and enthusiasts alike.
3. Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry, the illustrious French footballer, began his journey in a Catholic household but eventually found resonance and solace in Islam later in life.
His transition to Islam was deeply influenced by the guidance and camaraderie of his friends and teammates, Eric Abidal and Franck Ribery, who played pivotal roles in his embrace of this new faith.
Reflecting on this transformation, Henry candidly expressed, “I don’t know how to explain it, but I felt I was very close to Islam. I understand Islam more than the rest of religions, so I consider this religion closest to my heart. Unfortunately, many people are not trying to understand Islam well.”
Henry’s tenure at Barcelona, spanning from 2007 to 2010, marked a chapter of extraordinary triumphs and achievements. As a forward, his impactful presence was felt in 121 games, during which he netted 49 goals and orchestrated 27 assists.
His unwavering commitment contributed significantly to Barcelona’s illustrious collection of seven trophies, a haul that included the prestigious Champions League title.
Beyond the gleaming statistics and accolades, Henry’s legacy at Barcelona transcends the numbers, resonating in the hearts of fans and enthusiasts as a testament to his skill, dedication, and the profound journey that led him to embrace Islam, a decision that held deep personal significance for this legendary footballer.
4. Rustu Recber
Coming at number 4 is Rustu Recber, a former Turkish professional footballer currently involved in sports management. Throughout his illustrious career, he served as a goalkeeper for various clubs including Barcelona.
Rustu Recber, akin to many of his fellow countrymen from Turkey, identifies himself as a devout Muslim. His tenure at Barcelona marked a significant milestone as one of the initial Muslim players to grace the revered Camp Nou grounds.
Despite a relatively brief stint of just one season between 2003 and 2004, Rustu left an imprint within the club, making seven notable appearances. Although his official contract extended until 2006, the latter part of his tenure saw him on loan to Fenerbahce for the final two seasons.
5. Miralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanic, hailing from Bosnia and Herzegovina, was born to devout Muslim parents, a heritage that profoundly shapes his life and beliefs.
His steadfast commitment to his faith is evident in his devout observance and unwavering celebration of Ramadan, where he extends heartfelt congratulations to his fellow Muslims.
At 30 years old, Pjanic embarked on a new chapter by joining the team in the summer, making a significant impact with 18 noteworthy appearances since then.
The resonance of Islam in Pjanic’s life resonates deeply within the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 51% of the population adheres to this faith.
The roots of Islam in this region trace back to the Ottoman Empire’s 300-year dominion, leaving an enduring legacy that shaped the religious landscape.
In contemporary times, Bosnia and Herzegovina stands as one of the rare European countries boasting a Muslim-majority populace, fostering a rich tapestry of cultural diversity and religious traditions.
Pjanic’s devout practice and pride in his Muslim identity mirror the heritage and prevailing faith that courses through the veins of his homeland.
6. Arda Turan
Arda Turan, born on January 30, 1987, is a retired professional footballer and currently a Turkish football manager, prominently known for his prowess as a winger. Presently, he serves as the manager of Eyüpspor.
During his tenure in Barcelona, he faced some challenges, despite being renowned for his exceptional ball control, adept dribbling skills, and remarkable vision. However, he left an indelible mark, showcasing his mettle by netting an impressive 15 goals in 55 matches.
Additionally, in moments of triumph on the field, Turan often demonstrated his deep gratitude by reverently kneeling to the ground, a gesture embraced by many Muslim players, as an expression of thankfulness to God for his scoring feats. This display of faith not only mirrored his devout beliefs but also resonated as a testament to the humility and appreciation Turan held for his successes on the football pitch.
7. Yaya Toure
Gnégnéri Yaya Touré, born on May 13, 1983, is a retired Ivorian professional footballer turned coach. Renowned for his role as a midfielder, Touré currently serves as an assistant coach for the Saudi Arabia national team.
Before retirement, Toure was a talented midfielder that played for reputable clubs including the Spanish La Liga club, Barcelona FC. He commenced his journey with Barcelona for a transfer fee of €10 million (£6.7 million).
His official debut for the team took place on August 26, 2007, during the 2007–08 La Liga season opener against Racing de Santander. Demonstrating his prowess, Touré netted his inaugural La Liga goal against Athletic Bilbao on September 2, 2007, contributing to Barcelona’s 3–1 victory.
Amidst his victory at Barcelona reflected his steadfast commitment to his Muslim faith. Notably, Yaya Toure declined champagne gifts for his Man of the Match performances due to religious beliefs that abstain from alcohol consumption.
8. Eric Abidal
Raised in a Christian family, Eric Sylvain Abidal is a retired French professional footballer who embraced Islam in 2007. Born on September 11, 1979, Eric is renowned for his positions as a left-back and center-back.
Having notably contributed to Lyon and Barcelona, Abidal amassed a collective total of 18 trophies across both clubs. His achievements include securing two Champions League titles during his tenure with Barcelona. However, his later years in the sport were overshadowed by a liver tumor, necessitating a transplant.
In addition, Abidal’s religious faith change wasn’t influenced by his marriage to a Muslim woman, Hayet Abidal, as he candidly expressed, “It was all natural. I didn’t opt to convert to Islam because of my wife. It was a gift that suddenly appeared. I embraced Islam with full confidence.”
9. Asisat Oshoala
Asisat Lamina Oshoala is a Nigerian professional footballer displaying her prowess as a striker for Barcelona in the Spanish Liga F and a key figure in the Nigeria women’s national team.
Asisat is a born and raised Muslim player that made a debut to Barcelona in 2019 till date. Oshoala’s journey at FC Barcelona Femení began on a loan deal that lasted until the season’s culmination.
The deal was solidified with Barcelona announcing her permanent transfer and contract extension to 2022,. Later on she penned a two-year contract extension on March 10, 2022, securing her presence at Barcelona until June 30, 2024
Notably, Oshoala etched her name in history during the 2019 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final by scoring Barcelona’s sole goal in a 4–1 loss to Lyon, becoming the first African (and Nigerian) to score in such a prestigious final.
10. Kheira Hamraoui
Kheira Hamraoui, born on January 13, 1990, is a French professional midfielder that previously played for Barcelona Femení. During her inaugural season at Barcelona, her contributions aided the team in reaching the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinals for the first time.
In her final season with Barcelona, Hamraoui accomplished an extraordinary feat, securing the historic treble of Primera División, Champions League, and Copa de la Reina.
Beyond all these accomplishments, Kheira is identified to be one of the muslim players that have played for Barcelona. Unfortunately, there isn’t much record on herIslamical faith, as she tends to keep her religious belief private. Notably, Kheira Hamraoui currently plays for PSG Femení, displaying her remarkable talent in the pitch
The portrayal of Muslim players within Barcelona Football Club reflects the diversity and inclusivity embraced by the esteemed institution.
Although religious affiliations often remain private, some players openly identify with Islam. From luminaries like Thierry Henry, whose journey resonates with deep personal significance, to modern talents like Ousmane Dembele and Asisat Oshoala, each player has contributed uniquely to Barcelona’s legacy.
Their on-field prowess and unwavering dedication transcend statistics, echoing a deeper resonance within the club’s ethos. This exploration unveils their impactful roles, honoring their Muslim identities and their lasting imprint on Barcelona’s storied history, a testament to the club’s multicultural tapestry.
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