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World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series)

FIFA World Cup, one of the biggest events in the world, is set to launch within a few days in Qatar. Muslim stars like Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Mesut Özil have engraved their names in the history of this sport.

A lot of Muslim players will be representing their countries in this year’s tournament. In this first episode, we present some of these players you may like to look out for.

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Karim Benzema, France

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Playing for the Spanish Real Madrid and the French national football team, Karim Benzema, 34, was named as a forward player in the French squad travelling to Qatar 2022.

Born in Lyon to Algerian parents, Benzema began his career with hometown club Olympique Lyonnais in 2005, contributing sporadically to three Ligue 1 title wins. He was named French Player of the Year by France Football four times.

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For his performances in 2021 and 2022, Benzema was awarded the UEFA Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or, becoming the fifth French player to have won this prestigious award.

Ousmane Dembele, France

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Demble is a French professional footballer who plays as a winger for La Liga club Barcelona and the France national team. He was born in Vernon to Mauritanian-Senegalese mother and a Malian father.

Dembélé began his career at Rennes before joining Dortmund in 2016. After winning 20 caps and scoring five goals at youth level, Dembélé made his senior international debut for France in 2016. He was a member of the France squad that won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, also featuring at UEFA Euro 2020. Dembele has also been named in France’s squad for the 2022 World Cup.

Granit Xhaka, Switzerland

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Granit Xhaka is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Arsenal. He was born in September 1992 in Basel to Kosovo Albanian parents.

Xhaka was part of the Swiss team that won the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He made his senior debut in 2011 and has won over 90 caps, representing the nation at the FIFA World Cup in 2014, 2018, and finally 2022.

Ibrahima Konate, France

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Ibrahima Konaté is a French professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Liverpool and the France national team. The center-back was confirmed in Didier Deschamps final 26-man squad for the World Cup, having recently returned from injury with the Reds.

Konaté received his first call-up to the senior France national team on 4 June 2022 for the UEFA Nations League, replacing Raphaël Varane due to injury. He made his full international debut on 10 June in a 1–1 draw against Austria.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland

Knocking Out World Champion, Meet Swiss Muslim Players - About Islam

The 22-year-old Xherdan Shaqiri represents the Swiss national team in the World Cup 2022. Born in Yugoslavia from Albanian origin, the Muslim footballer plays as a midfielder for Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire.

Since his breakthrough into Basel’s first team, the left-footed midfielder has drawn widespread praise for his speed, both on and off the ball.

Ilkay Gundogan, Germany

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has been picked for Germany’s World Cup squad. Gundogan is set to be an important member of the German side after the midfielder featured in every single one of their Nations League games even scoring against England. The 32-year-old has 62 caps for his country scoring 16 goals and he will be hoping that can get his first World Cup goal in the group stages as Germany take on Spain, Costa Rica and Japan in Group E.

Haris Seferovic

Knocking Out World Champion, Meet Swiss Muslim Players - About Islam

Haris Seferovic is a Swiss professional footballer who plays as a striker for Süper Lig club Galatasaray, on loan from Portuguese club Benfica.

Dubbed as one of Switzerland’s finest talents, the Bosnian Muslim footballer was selected to present Switzerland in FIFA World Cup 2014, 2018, and 2022 in addition to Euro 2016.

Youssouf Fofana, France

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Fofana is a French professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Ligue 1 club Monaco and the France national team. He was born in 1999 in Paris to Malian parents. Fofana was a youth international for France from under-19 to under-21 level. On 15 September 2022, Fofana received his first call-up to the France national team, for two UEFA Nations League matches and was called on November with Les Bleus for the World Cup.

Antonio Rudiger, Germany

World Cup 2022: Top Muslim Players to Watch in Qatar (Series) - About Islam

Germany manager Hansi Flick has named his squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 and Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger has been included on the list for the tournament in Qatar. The German international defender arrived at Real Madrid only this past summer and has settled in fairly well. Rudiger is a practicing Muslim and was born in Berlin to a German father and a Sierra Leonean mother. He has often spoken out on racism in football and even wrote an article for The Players’ Tribune entitled This Article Will Not Solve Racism in Football.

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