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Everton Midfielder on Islam, Ramadan, and Love for Mo Salah

Just like billions of Muslims worldwide, Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure awaits Ramadan every year when he abstains from food and water from dawn to dusk for 30 days of fast.

Though some people believe fasting could pose challenges to athletes, Doucoure feels blessed to practice his faith freely while playing football in England.

“I always love Ramadan,” Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure told BBC Sport.

📚 Read Also: Premier League, EFL Referees Asked to Pause Games for Muslim Players to Break Ramadan Fast

“In the Premier League you are free to do whatever suits you, they will never do anything against your faith and this is great.

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“We feel very confident here, very accepted and everything is in place for Muslim people to enjoy.”

Everton Midfielder on Islam, Ramadan, and Love for Mo Salah - About Islam

Faith First

Born in Paris to Malian parents, Doucoure moved to England in 2016. He joined Everton in 2019.

“My family is a very religious family so I learned how to be a good Muslim and for me that is very important,” he says. “My faith helped me to go through a lot of barriers so it is very important to me.

“In football and life you go through pain and disappointment. Football is always up and down – sometimes you don’t play, sometimes you are injured, but my faith helped me through this. I am grateful to God for giving me that strength.

“I always make dua [supplication], always pray for Allah to help us in games. Without my faith, I would not be in this position today.”

Doucoure lives in Greater Manchester with his family and is a regular visitor to the local mosque, where other worshippers know he is a professional footballer and are “happy to welcome” him.

“My religion is the most important thing in my life – I put my religion first, then comes my work. You can do both together and I am happy with that,” he said.

“You get so much free time so I am always able to go to the mosque to pray and to enjoy my religion when I’m at home.”

📚 Read Also: Ramadan 1444 Special Page: Spirituality, Tips, Fatwas and More

Everton Midfielder on Islam, Ramadan, and Love for Mo Salah - About Islam

Role Model Salah

Putting football rivalries aside, Doucoure said he loves Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

“I love Sadio Mane, I love Mohamed Salah,” he says about the Muslim pair, who formed a potent attack for Liverpool before Mane joined Bayern Munich last summer.

For Doucoure, Salah provided the perfect Muslim role model in Liverpool and England.

“It is not about football – you know the reality between the clubs – but as a human being I love him [Salah],” Doucoure said.

“As a footballer you always want to be an example and Mohamed Salah is one of those. He is doing well at his club so people love him, but they also learn about his religion Islam. He is a good example for us and is perfect.

“Salah is good for society and if myself and my team-mates can be an example to others in the city [of Liverpool], that would be great.”

Doucoure and Salah are not the only Muslim players in the UK. In Everton only, Muslim players Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana perform a Muslim trio with Doucoure.

Also according to advisers Nujum Sports, there are 253 Muslim players in the first teams and academies of the top four tiers of English football who, making up about 5% of the total.