Wednesday, 12 Jun 2024

Best Muslim Football Players 2024

In football, there are certain players who not only captivate audiences with their exceptional skills but also serve as inspirations through their unwavering faith. As we delve into the realm of football in 2024, let’s shine a spotlight on some of the best Muslim players who have left their mark on the beautiful game. From the prolific Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané to the esteemed Karim Benzema, these players not only dazzle on the field but also proudly represent their faith, becoming icons both in their respective clubs and on the global stage. Join us in celebrating the achievements and contributions of these extraordinary athletes in the ever-evolving landscape of football.

Best Muslim Football Players

Best Muslim Football Players 2024
Credit: Getty Images

Who is the best Muslim player? Who is the most famous Muslim footballer? Or who is the best Muslim footballer in La Liga? If you’re seeking answers to these questions, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out.

Honorable Mention

  • Ahmed Musa
  • Mahmoud Hassan
  • Nayef Agured
  • Naby Keita

Here’s our list of the best Muslim football players in 2024:

Sofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat
Credit: Getty Images

Let’s kick off our list with Sofyan Amrabat. He plays as a defensive midfielder for Manchester United in the Premier League, currently on loan from Fiorentina in Serie A. Amrabat also represents the Morocco national team.

In September 2023, Manchester United signed Amrabat on loan from Fiorentina until the end of the 2023-24 season. The loan deal cost Manchester United £8.5 million, with an option to buy for £21.4 million. Making his Premier League debut on September 23, he played a key role in a 1-0 win over Burnley.

Amrabat, initially eligible to play for the Netherlands, switched to represent Morocco internationally. He was part of Morocco’s 26-man squad in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where strong performances increased interest in him across Europe. In November 2023, he was nominated for the 2023 African Footballer of the Year by CAF.

Read More: Manchester United Most Expensive Signings

Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly
Credit: Getty Images

Our next player on the list is Kalidou Koulibaly. He plays as a center-back for Al-Hilal in the Saudi Pro League. He also captains the Senegal national team. On June 25, 2023, it was announced that Koulibaly had joined Al-Hilal for a fee of approximately £20 million.

Koulibaly, a Muslim, mentioned that his name comes from the Quran. He actively supports various initiatives aiding the less fortunate in Naples and Senegal. During a trip to Senegal in June 2021, he partnered with local organizations, ensuring the delivery of sanitary tools and essentials from Naples.

Known for his large, aggressive, and elegant playing style, Koulibaly excels in aerial ability, anticipation, positioning, tackling, and passing. Despite receiving praise for overall solidity and interceptions, he has faced criticism for conceding too many fouls. Koulibaly’s versatility also allows him to play as a central defender, full-back on either flank, or even as a defensive midfielder. During his time at Napoli, he showcased ball-playing skills in Maurizio Sarri’s possession-based system.

Koulibaly made his senior debut for Senegal in 2015. He participated in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and later contributed to Senegal’s journey to the final in the 2019 edition. In 2021, Koulibaly and Senegal secured victory in the Africa Cup of Nations, defeating Egypt in the final. In December 2023, he was named in Senegal’s squad for the postponed 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.

Read More: Interesting Facts About Kalidou Koulibaly

Youssef En-Nesyri

Youssef En-Nesyri
Credit: SkySports

Our next choice in the best Muslim football players 2024 list is Youssef En-Nesyri. He currently plays for La Liga club Sevilla and represents the Morocco national team as a striker. En-Nesyri is recognized for his notable aerial game and heading ability.

En-Nesyri is a practicing Muslim. On September 9, 2023, he and his national teammates donated blood to help those affected by the 2023 Marrakesh-Safi earthquake.

Throughout his senior football career in Spain, En-Nesyri has played for Málaga, Leganés, and Sevilla. With over 150 La Liga appearances, he has scored more than 50 goals. In the 2023 UEFA Super Cup, En-Nesyri scored in a 1-1 tie against Manchester City, with the match ultimately decided by penalties. In recognition of his performances, he was nominated for the 2023 African Footballer of the Year by CAF on November 1, 2023.

En-Nesyri made his international debut in 2016 at the age of 18, having previously played for Morocco’s youth teams at the under-20 level. He has been part of Morocco’s squads in FIFA World Cups (2018 and 2022). He also featured in Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2017, 2019, and 2021).

Read More: Holding Midfielder Role: What Abilities Do They Possess? Who Are the Best Holding Midfielders?

Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez
Credit: SkySports

The next Muslim player on our list is Riyad Mahrez. He currently serves as the captain for the Algeria national team and plays for Al-Ahli in the Saudi Pro League. Manchester City agreed to transfer Mahrez to Al Ahli for £30 million, and the deal was officially confirmed on July 28, 2023, with Mahrez signing a contract until 2027.

In the 2015-16 season, Mahrez achieved notable recognition, being named the Algerian Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year. He was also part of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year, contributing significantly to Leicester City’s historic Premier League win. Mahrez joined Manchester City in 2018, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup in his debut season. His success continued with three more league titles, one FA Cup, two EFL Cups, and a UEFA Champions League in 2022-23, forming a continental treble with City.

Although born in France, Mahrez made his international debut for Algeria in 2014. He represented Algeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and multiple Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, winning the 2019 edition. In 2016, he was honored as CAF’s African Footballer of the Year.

Mahrez is a practicing Muslim. In June 2017, he undertook the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. Mahrez married his English girlfriend, Rita Johal, in 2015, and they welcomed their daughter later that year.

Read More: Best African players in Premier League

Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech
Credit: Getty Images

We continue our list of the best Muslim football players with another star from Morocco: Hakim Ziyech. He is known for his role as a right winger or attacking midfielder. Currently on loan from Chelsea, he plays for Süper Lig club Galatasaray. Nicknamed “The Wizard” by Ajax supporters, Ziyech was nominated for the 2023 African Footballer of the Year by CAF on November 1, 2023.

On August 19, 2023, Galatasaray announced Ziyech’s arrival in Istanbul for a transfer. On August 20, 2023, he completed a season-long loan to Galatasaray with an obligation for a permanent move. Notably, on November 29, he scored a brace in the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League group stage match against Manchester United.

Ziyech is recognized for his skills in finishing, dribbling, long passes, technique, and proficiency in free kicks. In 2019, he was among the top 10 players in the UEFA Champions League for the 2018-19 season. He also ranked 29th in The Guardian’s list of “The 100 best footballers in the world.”

Born in the Netherlands, Ziyech chose to represent Morocco internationally. He participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Read More: Chelsea Most Expensive Signings

Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger
Credit: SkySports

The next player on our list of best Muslim football players is from Germany: Antonio Rüdiger. He currently plays for Real Madrid in La Liga as a center-back. Renowned as one of the best defenders globally, Rüdiger is recognized for his aggressive playing style, strong tackling ability, and formidable aerial presence.

Making his international debut for Germany in May 2014, Rüdiger faced a setback as he missed UEFA Euro 2016 due to an injury. However, he played a vital role in Germany’s victory at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. He maintained his spot in the squad for the 2018 World Cup, UEFA Euro 2020, and the 2022 World Cup.

Rüdiger, a practicing Muslim, was born in Berlin to an Afro-German father, Matthias, and a Sierra Leonean mother, Lily. Growing up in the Neukölln neighborhood of Berlin, he is the half-brother of Sahr Senesie. In 2021, he contributed an article to The Players’ Tribune titled “This Article Will Not Solve Racism in Football,” sharing his experiences with racism and discussing potential ways to combat it.

Read More: Greatest Number 2s in Football History

Ousmane Dembélé

Ousmane Dembélé
Credit: Getty Images

Now it’s time to meet one of the fastest footballers in the world: Ousmane Dembélé. He plays as a winger for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 and the France national team. If you are asking who the Muslim player in Ligue 1 is right now, the answer could be Ousmane Dembélé.

On August 12, 2023, Dembélé joined Paris Saint-Germain in a transfer deal worth €50.4 million, signing a contract until June 2028. Initially wearing the number 23 jersey, he later switched to the number 10 following Neymar’s departure. He scored his first goal for the club on November 24 in a 5-2 victory against Monaco.

A practicing Muslim, Dembélé married a Moroccan woman in a traditional ceremony in France in December 2021. They welcomed a daughter in September 2022.

Dembélé earned 20 caps and scored five goals at the youth level. He made his senior international debut for France in 2016 and was part of the squad that won the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Dembélé played in UEFA Euro 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Read More: Fastest Footballers in the World

N’Golo Kanté

N’Golo Kanté
Credit: Getty Images

Now it’s time to meet one of the best defensive midfielders of the past decades: N’Golo Kanté. He currently plays for Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League and represents the France national team. In June 2023, Kanté agreed to join Al-Ittihad upon the expiration of his Chelsea contract.

Kanté is a practicing Muslim, born in Paris to Malian parents who migrated in 1980. Growing up in Rueil-Malmaison, Hauts-de-Seine, he’s named after King Ngolo Diarra of the Bamana Empire. Kanté’s nickname is “NG,” and he also enjoys playing tennis. Kanté is one of the best Muslim players of all time.

Considered one of the best midfielders of his generation, Kanté is praised for his work rate and defensive skills. A dynamic and disciplined player, he showcases relentless energy and excellent ball-winning abilities as a box-to-box midfielder. Additionally, his strengths lie in positional sense, off-the-ball movement, and the ability to read the game. Kanté also is recognized for his tactical awareness, intelligence, anticipation, and defensive contributions, including tackling, regaining possession, intercepting passes, and blocking shots.

Making his senior international debut for France in 2016, Kanté played a crucial role in the squad that finished runners-up at the 2016 European Championship. In 2017, he was named the French Player of the Year. Later, he became a key member of the 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning squad. Individually, Kanté has received numerous accolades, including the Premier League Player of the Season, PFA Players’ Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year, UEFA Men’s Midfielder of the Year, and the Trophées UNFP for Best French Player Abroad twice.

Achraf Hakimi

Achraf Hakimi
Credit: Getty Images

Another Moroccan and one of the best right-backs in the world! Achraf Hakimi is one of the best Muslim football players in 2024. He plays for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. Hakimi is widely acknowledged as one of the best defenders globally.

Nominated for the 2022 FIFA FIFPRO World 11 on February 14, 2023, Hakimi continued to shine, scoring a goal in a 2-0 victory against his former club Dortmund in the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League on September 19, 2023. This outstanding performance earned him a place on UEFA’s Team of the Week. Additionally, Hakimi was nominated for the 2023 African Footballer of the Year by CAF on November 1, 2023.

Born in Spain to Moroccan parents, Hakimi represented Morocco at the under-20 level before making his senior international debut in 2016 at the age of 17. He was part of Morocco’s squads in the FIFA World Cups in 2018 and 2022, as well as the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, 2021, and 2023.

A devout Muslim, Hakimi has undertaken the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca multiple times. He is multilingual, fluent in Arabic, Spanish, and French, and has a working knowledge of English, German, and Italian. Hakimi is married to Spanish actress Hiba Abouk, with whom he has two sons born in 2020 and 2022.

Read More: Best Ligue 1 Defenders of 2022-2023

Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané
Credit: SkySports

Sadio Mané is without a doubt one of the top Muslim footballers in the world. He currently plays for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League and represents the Senegal national team. Mané is widely regarded as one of the greatest African players in the history of football, known for his pressing, dribbling, and speed.

On August 1, 2023, Al Nassr announced the signing of Mané. Just two days later, he made his debut in a 1-1 draw against Zamalek in the 2023 Arab Club Champions Cup, coming on as a substitute. He scored his first goal for Al Nassr on August 14 in a league match against Al-Ettifaq.

A practicing Muslim, Mané is often seen making du’a (supplication) before the start of each match. At the international level, he has made significant contributions to the Senegal national team, registering 38 goals in 99 appearances since his debut in 2012. Mané is Senegal’s all-time top goalscorer and ranks joint-second in all-time appearances. He helped Senegal reach the final in the 2019 tournament. He was also named African Footballer of the Year in the following year.

In the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final, Mané scored the winning kick in the penalty shootout, securing Senegal’s first-ever title. Additionally, he won the Player of the Tournament award. He also won the African Player of the Year award for the second time in 2022.

Read More: Best African Forwards of All Time

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema
Credit: Getty Images

We reach the top 3 in our list of the best Muslim football players in 2024. Our choice for the third spot is Karim Benzema. He currently plays for Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad. In recognition of his outstanding performances in 2021 and 2022, Benzema received the UEFA Player of the Year and the prestigious Ballon d’Or, becoming the fifth French player to achieve this honor. This makes him one of the best Muslim football players of all time.

Widely considered one of the best strikers in the history of football, Benzema is known for his creative style, technical skills, vision, and versatility on the field. He also holds the distinction of being Real Madrid’s all-time second-highest goalscorer and top assist provider, having won 24 trophies with the club, including four La Liga, three Copa del Rey, and five UEFA Champions League titles.

On June 6, 2023, Al-Ittihad announced the signing of Benzema on a free transfer. Two days later, he was formally presented as the new signing at a grand ceremony held at the King Abdullah Sports City, attended by a large number of fans.

A practicing Muslim, Benzema observes fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. He has openly spoken about the positive impact of his faith, stating, “My faith helps me to be focused every day. It brings me benefits and it’s my strength for me, my family, as well as for my work – for literally everything.”

Read More: Best French Footballers of All Time

İlkay Gündoğan

İlkay Gündoğan
Credit: Getty Images

Who is the best Muslim footballer in La Liga right now? The answer is İlkay Gündoğan. Currently, he plays for La Liga club Barcelona and captains the Germany national team. Gündoğan is recognized for his exceptional vision, athleticism, and leadership qualities.

Gündoğan joined Manchester City in 2016, achieving significant success with the club, including five Premier League titles, four EFL Cups, two FA Cups, and the Champions League. In the 2022-23 season, his final with Manchester City, he served as club captain and contributed to a continental treble.

On June 26, 2023, Gündoğan signed a two-year contract with Barcelona on a free transfer. He marked his presence by scoring his first goal for Barcelona on October 28 against Real Madrid in El Clásico. Despite the team’s eventual 2-1 home defeat, Gündoğan’s goal made him the second oldest player to score for the club in that fixture, aged 33 years and 4 days, only behind Sergio Agüero.

Gündoğan has been part of Germany’s squads for major tournaments, including the UEFA European Championship in 2012 and 2020, as well as the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022. A practicing Muslim, Gündoğan married Sara Arfaoui in 2022, and they have one child together.

Read More: Best Manchester City Players of All Time

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah
Credit: SkySports

Who is the best Muslim player right now? Mohamed Salah tops our list of the best Muslim players in 2024. Also known as Mo Salah, he currently plays for Liverpool and serves as the captain of the Egypt national team. Salah is one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest African players of all time. His notable attributes include clinical finishing, exceptional dribbling skills, and remarkable speed.

Throughout his career, Salah has earned several accolades, including being named African Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2018, as well as receiving the PFA Players’ Player of the Year for the 2017-18 and 2021-22 seasons. He also won the FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball in 2019. Salah is undeniably one of the best Muslim football players of all time.

In 2013, Salah married his wife, Maggi, and they have two daughters. Their first daughter, Makka, was born in 2014 and is named in honor of the Islamic holy city of Mecca. The couple welcomed their second daughter, Kayan, in 2020. Salah, a devout Muslim, celebrates goals by performing the sujud, a gesture of prayer.

Who is the most famous Muslim footballer? Mo Salah. He is affectionately known as the “Fourth Pyramid” in his home country and is often referred to as the “Pride of the Arabs.”

Read More:

  • Best African Footballers of All Time
  • Best Liverpool Players of All Time
  • Best Premier League Forwards of 2022-2023