Is Zinedine Zidane MUSLIM? (One Of The Best Top Footballers)

Khadija Ahmed

September 01, 2023
Zinedine Zidane walking in a mosque

Football, a sport that transcends boundaries, has become a focal point in global conversation, especially when it intertwines with topics as profound as faith.

Among the pantheon of football legends, names like Zinédine Zidane, a significant figure in both Real Madrid and world football, and other footballers like Sadio Mane resonate deeply, not only for their prowess on the pitch but also for their relationship with Islam.

How deep is this relationship and is one of the best footballers to have ever played actually a Muslim? Let's find out.

Who is top football player Zinédine Zidane?

Zinedine Zidane early career

Born in La Castellane, Marseille, Zinedine Yazid Zidane, an attacking midfielder whose name has been echoed in football stadiums across continents, has had an illustrious career that younger generations aspire to emulate.

Commonly referred to as Zizou, Zidane is a French professional football manager and former attacking midfielder who has played for clubs like Real Madrid, Cannes, Juventus and has represented his national team to win prestigious tournaments like the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Are Zinedine Zidane's parents Muslim?

Zidane was born on 23rd June 1972 and was the youngest of five siblings. His parents, Malika Zidane and Smaïl Zidane, imparted to him a rich Algerian Kabyle heritage. They immigrated to Paris from Aguemoune in northern Algeria in 1953 and settled in the rough district of Barbès.

Zidane's father worked in a warehouse and Zidane's mother was a homemaker. His parents are known to be Muslim as they grew up in the Maghreb region of northern Africa. 

Zidane's football career highlights

Zidane and Muslim football players

Zinedine Zidane's legend and narrative in world football extends from a dramatic 5-metre bronze work capturing a decisive moment in a FIFA World Cup match to match-winning goals that have clinched UEFA Champions League titles for his teams. In a revealing interview with Esquire, Zidane, the Real Madrid legend, illuminated his dual pride: his unyielding connection with the Arab world, balanced harmoniously with his French identity.

In 2006, Zidane was involved in an on-pitch altercation with Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Zidane was sent off in the final of the FIFA World Cup after headbutting Materazzi, who reportedly made a remark about Zidane's family.

Despite this, Zidane received 108 caps from his appearances for France and is one of only nine players ever to have won the World Cup, Champions League and Ballon d'Or.

Muslim football players Zidane has played with

Zinedine Zidane with other Muslim football players

The modern era, especially in the Premier League and La Liga, witnesses a proliferation of Muslim players who are rewriting narratives. For the first time, there's an unprecedented influx of Muslim football players, who are not only shattering negative stereotypes associated with the religion but are also making significant strides in the game like Eden Hazard and allegedly Kylian Mbappe. This evolving landscape provides both a fresh perspective and challenges long-standing biases.

Mesut Ozil, with his artistic brilliance on the field and devout Muslim beliefs off it, has been in the limelight for both positive and negative outcomes. Manchester United's iconic Old Trafford has seen the likes of Paul Pogba, a dynamic central midfielder, illuminating the pitch. Meanwhile, Karim Benzema's stories, both as a professional footballer and a figure deeply rooted in Islam, add depth to the fabric of the French national team.

Sadio Mane's journey from a conservative Muslim country to becoming a colossal name in world football serves as an inspiration. His fervor, evident during intense extra time situations, mirrors the dedication of players like Eric Abidal. Their practices and personal beliefs, from adhering to the rules of Islam to seeking guidance from Salafi thinkers, or drawing solace from the Islamic Sufi tradition, paint a diverse picture of Muslim footballers today.

So, is Zinedine Zidane a Muslim?

Public display of his roots has led to many conversations and speculations. However, Zidane himself has often clarified his stance, identifying as a "non-practising Muslim."

Zidane does not mention or talk about his Islamic faith in the press or on social media and keeps his religion closely to himself.

Islam vs football

Sketch of Zidane in Real Madrid as a Muslim

The relationship between football and Islam extends beyond individual players. From the glitzy Ballon d'Or nights to pulsating FA Cup matches, football, and Islam share an intricate bond. New talents like the similarly-named Zidane Iqbal represent the future, echoing the aspirations of many young Muslims today.

Amid this spectrum, one observes various shades of faith. The ascetic interpretation of early Islam coexists with more liberal beliefs. Footballers, be they senior legal consultants by day, grapple with integrating their professional lives with their faith. Literature, too, offers insights, with appearances of books that shed light on Islam's fateful path and its symbiosis with football.

Football's global stage has often been a place where traditional beliefs clash with modern values. From the domestic backlash faced by some players for their tattoos, deemed as artistic depictions of human forms (often discouraged in conservative Muslim circles), to the evolution of any kind of modernist approach to the game, football continually challenges and gets challenged.

A remarkable story unfolds in Zinedine Zidane's close association with Qatar, a country deeply rooted in Islamic traditions yet making waves in global affairs, was made clear as Zidane became an ambassador for the country as they secured the 2022 World Cup. Players like Emmanuel Adebayor, originally from non-Muslim worlds, have embraced Islam, adding further dimensions to the discourse.

The challenge is not just about practising one's faith but about battling misconceptions. For instance, the European Championship, UEFA Champions League, and domestic leagues like the Premier League often witness players breaking their fast during matches, showcasing the harmonious blend of their professional commitments with the tenets of Islam.

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