Ethnic Media Coverage

Muslim Stars Shining in Fifa World Cup 2014

The Brazil 2014 World Cup kicked off earlier this week with many Muslim players dotting the football landscape. Being an integral part of football, Muslim players starring in their different teams from across the globe in the month-long tournament are expected to draw much attention of spectators with special performance.

Here are some of the names of Muslim stars who are shining in the international tournament.
Edin Džeko

Born in March 1986 in Bosnia’s Sarajevo, the Manchester City striker has began his career as a midfielder in the youth team of Željezni?ar where he was recognized as one of the most talented boys in the blue team.

In November 2009, Džeko became Bosnia’s first UNICEF ambassador.

The Bosnian footballer was named top scorer of Group G in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers as his 10 goals granted his country Bosnia qualification for the first time in history to the FIFA World Cup (Brazil 2014).

Dzeko is playing for Bosnia in the World Cup 2014.

Mesut Özil

Mesut Özil is a German footballer who plays for Premier League club Arsenal and the German national team. Özil has been a youth national team member since 2006, and a member of the German national team since 2009.

The 25-year-old talented player gained international attention during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was nominated for the Golden Ball Award, which is awarded to the tournament’s best player.

At the age of 24, Özil became the youngest sportsman to figure in the Berlin museum.

Sami Khedira

The Real Madrid midfielder, Sami Khedira, was named by Germany to play in World Cup 2014.
Born in April 1987, the German footballer is currently playing for Real Madrid and the German national team.

In 2010, the Muslim player moved from VFB Stuttgart to Real Madrid, signing a contract until 2015 with an undisclosed fee.

Karim Benzema

Playing for the Spanish Real Madrid and the French national football team, Karim Benzema, 26, was named as a forward player in the French squad travelling to Brazil 2014.

At the age of 19, the Muslim striker was ranked as top goal-scorer in all European leagues in 2007 with 11 goals so far.

He stole the limelight in 2005, when he made his first debut with the Lyonnais and scored a spectacular goal that gave him a foothold in the French national team at the age of 17.
Hailing from Algerian family, Benzema helped the Lyonnais maintain Ligue 1 title for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

His impressive performance at the UEFA Cup 2007 drew interests from European heavyweights Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC and Inter Milan.

Mamadou Sakho

Hailing form a Senegalese family, the 24-year-old Muslim defender is playing for the French world Cup squad.

The French footballer plays as a central defender for Premier League club Liverpool and the French national team.

In 2003, Sakho started his professional career after joining club Paris Saint-Germain, at the age of 12.
By 2007, the French defender signed his first professional three-year contract. In the same year he made his first league debut against Valeciennes in a 0–0 draw, becoming the youngest player ever to captain a Ligue 1 club.

Xherdan Shaqiri

The 22-year-old Xherdan Shaqiri will represent the Swiss national team during Brazil 2014 World Cup. Born in Yugoslavia from Albanian origin, the Muslim footballer plays as a midfielder for Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga.

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.

Shaqiri won the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League title with Bayern in late May, as well as the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal title, making him one of the Bayern Munich players to have won the treble.

Moussa Sissoko

The 24-year-old Muslim footballer, who hails from a Malian family, is playing for the French squad as a midfielder in World Cup 2014.

With 17 international caps, the own playing style French Muslim has started playing football at a very young age, joining Toulouse club’s first team at the age of 17.

In October 2009, Sissoko played his first international match between France and Faroe Islands. By 2013, the 188-cm Muslim midfielder has signed in for Newcastle.

Marouane Fellaini

The Belgian midfielder was born in November 1987.

Fellaini, who hails from Moroccan family, has signed for Everton in 2008, moving to Manchester United in 2013 in a deal worth £27.5 million.

The Manchester United Muslim footballer played his first international match between Belgium and Czech Republic in February 2007.

The 194-cm midfielder has a history of 50 international caps, scoring 8 international goals.

Wakaso Mubarak

Widely known as Wakaso, the Ghanina professional footballer, who was born in July 1990, plays for the Russian FC Rubin Kazan and the Ghana national football team.

The Ghanaian midfielder has played his first international match in October 2012. Wakaso has made 17 international caps, recording 7 international goals.

Between 2008-2011, the Ghanaian footballer has been playing for Spain’s Elche. After moving to Villarreal’s team in 2011, the youngster played a number of La Liga games for the club’s first team.

In 2013, Wakaso’s moving to the Russian club Rubin Kazan made him one of the Ghanaian squad’s key players who are listed for the World Cup 2014.

Bacary Sagna

The Muslim Senegalese footballer, who was born in Sens in February 1983, played hi first international match in 2007 between Slovakia and France.

At the age of 14, the Muslim player joined Auxerre where he developed his skills as a forward. Meanwhile, he was moved to fill in at right-back, dubbed as the best right-back by his fellow players in 2006 and 2007.

The French Defender has joined Arsenal in 2007, signing a £7-million contract.

With 41 international caps, the 178-cm midfielder is playing for the French squad in World Cup 2014.

Vincent Aboubakar

Young as he might be, 22-year-old Muslim footballer Vincent Aboubakar is expected to be one of the best Cameroonian players in history who is playing now in World Cup. The Cameroonian striker plays for French club Lorient in Ligue 1. He joined the national first team at the age of 18 when he was named to the Cameroon 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Yaya Toure

The Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure, 31, is playing for Côte d’Ivoire team in Brazil 2014, making his third appearance in FIFA World Cup tournaments.

Playing his first international match in 2004, the 189-cm player has gained several medals over years, including two Spanish La Liga titles, two English Premier League titles, the Greek Super League title, a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal, and victories in a host of domestic cup competitions.

Named as the best player in a game, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure politely refused a Champagne bottle award saying he does not drink because he is a Muslim.

Kolo Toure

Dubbed as one of the most experienced players in Africa, the Liverpool FC (ENG) defender, Kolo Toure, was picked among Côte d’Ivoire squad playing in Brazil 2014.

Born in March 1981, the Muslim Ivory coast player has a history of more than 100 international games for his country. His first international match was between Niger – Côte d’Ivoire in July 2000.

The brother of Yaya Toure has previously played for his country in two FIFA World Cup finals.

The veteran footballer, 183 cm, has participated in 107 international games for his country, recording 6 international goals.

Philippe Senderos

The Swiss player, who was born in February 1985 in Geneva, became a regular at Arsenal and won the FA Cup in 2005 before moving to Valencia CF.

The 29-year-old defender has embraced Islam in 2012, making the shahada or declaration of faith at an Islamic center in Manchester.

His first landmark victory was in the European under-17 Championship in 2002, while his first international match was in 2005 between France and Switzerland.

With 53 international caps and five international goals, the 190-cm Valencia defender was named by his country among its squad’s key players at the world Cup 2014.

Admir Mehmedi

Born in March 1991 in Macedonia, the Muslim footballer is among those listed to play for the Swiss squad in FIFA World Cup 2014.

Spending the majority of his youth career at FC Winthertu, the Albanian Mehmedi played his first international match between England and Switzerland in June 2014.

Playing for Switzerland at the UEFA European U-21 Championship 2011, the Muslim forward player made his first international debut in that same year.

Mehmedi, 183-cm, has a history of 22 international caps and two international goals.

Haris Seferovic

The Real Sociedad striker, who was born in February 1992, started his football career 15 years ago at the age of 7.

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

Seferovic has played his first international match in February 2013 between Greece and Switzerland.
The 187-cm striker has attended 12 international caps, scoring 2 goals.

Seferovic’s goal in the 92nd minute in Switzerland’s match against Ecuador has defined the result of the match, giving his country the first victory in 2014 World Cup.

Gokhan Inler

The Swiss midfielder, who was born in Switzerland’s Olten in June 1984, has joined FC Aarau in 2005, playing his first international match in September 2006 between Switzerland and Venezuela.

Inler, a Muslim of Turkish origin, captained Switzerland against Spain in FIFA World Cup 2010, leading his country’s victory 1–0.

With 74 international caps and 6 international goals, the 181-cm Inler was qualified to captain the Swiss Squad in FIFA World Cup 2014.

Valon Behrami

The 29-year-old midfielder, who was born in Kosovo, started to discover his passion and love of football at the age of 13.

The 184-com footballer, Behrami, played his first international match in the Swiss squad against France in October 2005.

Appearing at Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and UEFA EURO 2008, World CUP Brazil 2014 will be the midfielder’s fourth major international tournament.

Blerim Dzemaili

Born in April 1986 in the former Yugoslavia, Dzemaili has signed his first professional contract with FC Zurich in 2003.

The Muslim midfielder made his first international debut for Switzerland against Scotland in March 2006.

Although Dzemaili was listed to play for the Swiss squad in FIFA World Cup 2006, he couldn’t make an appearance.

The 179-cm footballer, who was named as a regular player in Switzerland’s Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign, has a history of 34 international Caps and one international goal.

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