CONAKRY – Paul Pogba continuously proves that he’s currently one of the most recognizable footballers on the planet, his latest achievement was bringing the 2nd World Cup title to France. Yet, Pogba’s Islamic faith might be his most defining characteristic.
Before the World Cup 2018, he set the all-time transfer fee record in 2016 when he joined Manchester United, The18.com reported.
Despite all of this wealth, all his swagger and fame, Pogba is first and foremost a devout Muslim, one who doesn’t have a problem with discarding his flashy clothes to don a simple white robe while on a pilgrimage to Makkah.
Pogba hails from the Muslim West African country of Guinea where Islam defines no less than 85% of its total population, according to the 2013 estimate of the United States Department of State.
The Muslim soccer star was born in a Parisian district which he has described as “the hood”. With drugs rampant in the area, football was the only escape.
And without his religiously devoted mother, Yeo, football might have never brought him the fame and fortune he enjoys today. Yeo and Paul share a strong relationship; Paul gave Yeo his World Cup medal.
When he helped Manchester United in winning the 2017 Europa League, he went to Makkah to give thanks to Allah for the successful season. He made a similar trip ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
His religion keeps him grounded, whether he’s winning trophies with club and country or dealing with the death of his father when Pogba was just two years old.
On being the world’s most expensive player in 2016, Pogba replied with a well-known Islamic rule of humbleness: “At the end of the day, when you die, the most expensive and the less expensive, they go in the same grave. So, I don’t even think about it.”
While being asked about criticism, the professional-minded athlete answered: “I leave the people who are talking and stuff… But they’ve always been talking, even when I was on my first team, my friends criticized me, made jokes about me.”
“You have to know that you’re lucky to be there because there’s a lot of people who want to be in your place. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices.
“When I was younger, I didn’t see my family, I’d go and train all the time, not seeing friends, leaving Guinea the homeland and stuff like that. You make sacrifices, it’s not to lose your head and give up. Give up? I don’t know what that means,” he continued.
Pogba has dealt with backlash of all kinds, from being too concerned about his appearances, African origin, and religion to “not being French enough”.
Through it all, Pogba’s religion has provided a grounding force. He’s just as likely to post on Instagram about his faith as he is about some new shoes.