Arsenal football club bought the 24-year-old German Muslim international Shkrodan Mustafi during the 2016 summer transfer window and he has made headlines ever since, for the good reasons.
The new signing has spoken about the importance of his Muslim faith to his life and career.
Mustafi said in an interview with German newspaper, Bild:
“Being a Muslim is very important to me, more important than anything, although sometimes travel makes it difficult for me to always pray when I want to.”
For Muslim players like Mustafi, one of the biggest challenges is when the fasting month of Ramadan comes during match days.
“The Euros was a problem for me too, because it came in the middle of Ramadan and it would not have been possible to limit my food and fluid intake. But as an athlete I knew that I did not have to comply on that occasion.”
Alongside Ramadan, another important notion is the connection with the Qur’ān and his views on other religions.
“I study the Qur’ān intensively but I also study other religions, too. But it is in the Koran that the prophets are closest to me — there and in the mosque when I go to pray.”
Mustafi wouldn’t be the first to say how the Islamic faith helps him in his career and what’s his real goal in life.
“My religion means so much to me and to my career. It helps me so much.
At the end of it all, I’m a person like any other who is on the Earth to strive for paradise. That is my main task. And if I play a c**p game it’s not the end of the world.”
Arsenal have not lost a game since Mustafi made his Premier League debut and he even refused to have a beer next to him when having a press interview.
The German international is not the only practising Muslim in the Arsenal dressing room.
Mesut Ozil, who prays seconds before the start of every game he takes place in, recently posted a picture of himself in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Here is a list of 54 Muslims in the English Premier League.