Paul Pogba has opened up on his Muslim faith and the role it has played in making him a “better person”.
Pogba’s mother practised Islam but did not raise her three sons to be Muslim. However the Manchester United midfielder connected with religion as an adult through friends, and says Islam is often misunderstood.
“Islam is not the image that everyone sees, terrorism,” Pogba told The Times’ Life Times podcast. “What we hear in the media is really something else. It’s something beautiful.”
After going through some difficult personal times Pogba has committed to his faith, and last month was pictured on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
“It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside. It was a good change in my life because I wasn’t born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone.
“It came because I have a lot of friends who are Muslim. We always talk. I was questioning myself in a lot of things, then I started doing my own research. I prayed once with my friends and I felt something different. I felt really good.
“Since that day I just carried on. You have to pray five times a day, that’s one of the pillars of Islam. It’s something that you do. The meaning why you do it, you ask forgiveness and be thankful for everything you have, like my health and everything.
“It’s really a religion that opened my mind and that makes me, maybe, a better person. You think more about the afterlife. This life has a test. Like when I’m with you, here. Even if you’re not a Muslim, you are a normal human. You have a human relationship and respect you for who you are, what religion you are, what colour and everything.
“Islam is just this – respect of the humanity and everything.”
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