The 2022 FIFA World Cup is (almost) here, and football fans worldwide are gearing up for the international tournament. Held in Qatar, the football tournament is set to begin on 20 November and end on 18 December 2022. Football fanatics are all charged up to hit the stadium and cheer for their team. With just a few days left for the actions to unfold, let’s look at four Muslim football players to watch for in this year’s World Cup.
Ilkay Gundogan Is In Germany’s World Cup Squad
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.
Bayern Munich star Sadio Mane is part of Senegal’s 26-man squad
Despite fears that he would be ruled out of the tournament due to injury, Mane hopes he will be fit enough to play in Qatar. Senegal is in Group A where they will face the Netherlands, Qatar, and Ecuador. In Bayern Munich’s penultimate game before the World Cup, Mane was substituted after just 21 minutes when he appeared to hurt his leg during his side’s 6-1 win at the Allianz Arena. Mane is a national icon after scoring the winning spot-kick in a penalty shootout win over Egypt to secure Senegal a first Africa Cup of Nations title last year. He is a practicing Muslim and occasionally is seen making dua before the start of each match.
Antonio Rudiger was named in Germany’s squad for FIFA World Cup 2022
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.
Hakim Ziyech returns from Morocco retirement to play World Cup
Born in the Netherlands, Ziyech began his career at the Dutch club Heerenveen in 2012 followed by moving to Twente for two years. Ajax signed Ziyech for a 5-year deal in 2016, one of his most prolific seasons was in 2018/2019 where he scored 16 goals with 13 assists. He was named in the 20 best players list for the UEFA Champions League 2018–19 season while also being ranked 29th in The Guardian’s list of “The 100 best footballers in the world”. In 2020, he joined Chelsea for a hefty transfer fee of €40 million 😳 Ziyech also represents Morocco at the international level as he was selected for their 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Fun fact: Hakim Ziyech’s nationality is Dutch-Moroccan. He could play for both national teams but opted to defend the shirt of Morocco.
Are you excited to watch the World Cup and these top 4 Muslim players, too?