How Religion Influences Paul Pogba On And Off The Pitch

The France World Cup winner is a practicing Muslim.

Paul Pogba is one of the most famous footballers on the planet. He plays at perhaps the biggest club in the world and just won the World Cup with France. But Paul Pogba’s religion might be his most defining characteristic.

Pogba stands out on a pitch. Whether it’s unique hairstyles, uncommon flair on the ball or endless dabbing, the 6-3 midfielder is one of the most recognizable players in the world. He set the all-time transfer fee record in 2016 when he joined Manchester United, where he plays in front of tens of thousands in person and millions worldwide. 

But for all his wealth, all his swagger and all his fame, Paul Pogba is first and foremost a devout Muslim, one who’s not afraid to discard his flashy clothes to don a simple white robe while on pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Most beautiful thing I've seen in my life 

A post shared by Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba) on

Paul Pogba Religion

Paul Pogba grew up in an area of Paris he has described as the hood. With drugs rampant in the area, football was the only escape. 

But without his mother, Yeo, football might have never brought him the fame and fortune he enjoys today. Yeo and Paul share a strong relationship; Paul gave Yeo his World Cup winner’s medal. 

It was Yeo who introduced Paul to Islam.

Pogba was raised alone by his mother from the age of 2. He and his two older brothers slept together in the same bed, often with two cousins. Pogba refuses to say he was poor because by African standards they were rich. But his mother had to work hard to provide for five children on her own. 

Pogba’s relationship with his mother shaped him into the footballer he is today, one who isn’t afraid of putting in the hard work to get to where he wants to be. He was a key cog in the French midfield alongside N’Golo Kanté, also Muslim, that powered Les Bleus to victory at the World Cup. 

His religion also keeps him grounded, whether he’s winning trophies with club and country or dealing with the death of his father. A taste of some of his thoughts.

On the death of his father in 2017:

“When you lose someone you love, you don't think the same way. And that's why I say I enjoy life, because it goes very fast.”

On being the world’s most expensive player:

“At the end of the day, when you die, the most expensive and the less expensive, they go in the same grave. So I don't even think about it.”

On criticism:

“I leave the people who are talking and stuff… But they've always been talking, even when I was at my first team, my friends criticized me, made jokes about me. You have to know that you're lucky to be there because there's a lot of people who want to be in your place. I've made a lot of sacrifices. When I was younger, I didn't see my family, I'd go and train all the time, not seeing friends, leaving the country and stuff like that. You make sacrifices, it's not to lose your head and give up. Give up? I don't know what that means.”

On the terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester:

“You cannot kill a human being. To kill a human being, ... it’s something crazy, so I don’t want to put religion on it. This is not Islam and everybody knows that. I won’t be the only one saying that.”

In a post-9/11 era of bigotry and hatred toward Muslims throughout many parts of the English world (U.S. and UK), Paul Pogba is one of a growing number of Muslims playing in the world’s richest soccer leagues. Pogba has dealt with backlash of all kinds, from being too concerned about his appearances to not being French enough

But through it all Paul Pogba’s religion has provided a grounding force. He’s just as likely to post on Instagram about his faith as he is about some new shoes.

Put faith on him he will put light on you ..#jummah

A post shared by Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba) on

Last year after helping Manchester United win the Europa League he went to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to give thanks for the season. He made a similar trip ahead of the 2018 World Cup. 

Ramadan Kareem  Bon Ramadan #makkah #blessed

A post shared by Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba) on

While many see Paul Pogba as a bombastic figure focused entirely on his own image, closer inspection reveals a thoughtful, religious 25-year-old. 

Religion isn’t for everyone, nor is any religion a panacea. But as Paul Pogba’s religion illustrates, it can bring peace and serenity in a wild world.

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