MANCHESTER – While Benjamin Mendy wanted to work with the world-class coach Pep Guardiola, there was an additional religious reason why the Muslim player chose the Abu Dhabi-owned English football club of Manchester City, Arab News reported.
“The club’s chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak talked to me in addition to the owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan who is also a Muslim. This was one very big aspect for me to come to Manchester City because I am Muslim too,” the 24-year-old said.
“That was important. With the players and the manager, we are one big family and it’s perfect to work here. It’s a very big family, everyone close, everyone wanting the same,” he continued.
The $68-million signing saw an impressive start curtailed this time a year ago when he suffered a cruciate ligament injury.
Mendy is keen to help fulfill the targets of the ‘The Citizens’ Club — and his own — following a remarkable, unforgettable first season.
Those six games, six wins, 22 goals for and just one against, signaled the start of City’s rise to a record-breaking Premier League success.
Mendy plays as a left back for the French national team. After coming through Le Havre’s youth academy, Mendy began his playing career with the club’s reserve side in 2010, eventually being promoted to the first team a few seasons later.
He remained with the club until 2013, when he joined Ligue 1 side Marseille. Mendy spent the next three seasons with the Les Olympiens before leaving for Monaco, with whom he won the national championship in 2016–17.
The Muslim footballer, originally from Senegal, made his senior debut for France in 2017 after previously being capped by France youth teams at under-21, under-19, under-18, under-17, and under-16 levels. He was chosen in France’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup which they ultimately won.
With a big number of Muslim players participating in the Premier League, Britons are changing their opinion about Muslims. The indisputably stylish and devoted Muslim sportsmen of the English Premier League (EPL) are having a profound effect on misperceptions about their faith.