5 Christian footballers who are very open about their faith
Athletes like Odion Ighalo and Lionel Messi have no problems talking about their faith.
The Nigerian striker is one of those footballers who is quick to praise God as soon as he scores a goal. He also credits God for being able to make it out of his poor beginnings.
In 2015, 28-year-old opened up about his background and faith in an interview with The Guardian saying, "We didn't always have what we wanted or needed, we had to struggle. It was difficult to live, difficult to eat and that is why I thank God when I look where I am now."
The next year, he opened up some more about his faith and praying to God before turning down an offer of at least £80m from the Chinese club Hebei China Fortune.
He told the Daily Mail: "I prayed about it, and God said it was not for me, no matter how much money it was. I knew God would direct me. When I said I don't want to go, they offered me more money, almost £300,000 a week. I told them it's not about the money."
Ighalo added: "Hard work and the grace of God have paid off in my life. I am a Christian and I believe so much in God. I'm not perfect. I have my flaws. I am human. Only God is perfect. I try to acknowledge him in my life. Whatever I am now and what I am going to be is through God."
The Super Eagles striker will be playing at this year's championship.
He is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for the Spanish club Barcelona. He is also a Catholic.
Unlike Ighalo, he is not as vocal preferring to let his body doing the talking about his faith. He has a tattoo of Jesus on his right bicep and a rose window inspired by the Roman Catholic church in Barcelona called Sagrada Familia church.
He has also been seen making the sign of the cross during a lot of games.
Messi has promised to go on a 30-mile religious pilgrimage if Argentina wins this year's World Cup. The forward told Argentina's TyC Sports,"I will go on foot to San Nicolas." It is a popular pilgrimage site in Argentine.
He is a goalkeeper on Brazil's national team who has no issues with sharing his Christian faith.
On May 14, 2018, he took to social media to praise God after receiving news that he would be playing in this year's World Cup. His caption written in Spanish read: "Very happy to receive the opportunity to defend my country in a world cup! Realization of a dream!!!! Now it is go in search of hexa !!!!! Glory to God!! AB1 God in control worldcup2018"
Last year, he advised would-be professional goalkeepers to hold on to faith if they want to achieve success.
While answering questions from his fans, he said, "You need to be very focused on football and I think faith is important too. If you believe in God, you know you have to do your best on the pitch and put love into everything you do in life."
Concerning superstitions and pre-match routine, Becker said, "No, the only thing I do is point to the sky. I'm a Christian so I'm not a superstitious person."
The Forward (Uruguay) has taken his love for God to a whole new level, going as far as to spotting an "I belong to Jesus" T-shirt.
Several years ago, he revealed that everything he does, including football, is done in the name of God. Speaking with the Spanish paper El País, he said, "I am an athlete for Christ. That's why I play for Him, to give Him glory, to thank Him for giving me the ability to play football and be able to compete in a league like the Italian one, for giving me that divine gift that I am trying to manage more and more. We belong to the Evangelical church. I don't like the term athlete of Christ."
The Archbishop of Naples, Crescenzio Sepe, has been quoted saying: "God serves himself by having Cavani score goals."
Just like Cavani, this Forward (Colombia) has no problem with wearing his faith proudly. After scoring a goal, he usually lifts up his jersey to reveal a T-shirt that says "Con Jesus nunca estara solo" (With Jesus you'll never be alone).
He is also known to encourage his teammates to read the Bible and attend church services with him. This was not appreciated by his teammates including his former flatmate Gonzalo Luduena who said: "Sunday was our free day to go out for a walk. We hid because Falcao would look for us in every room to take us to church."
According to his wife, Lorelei, this is exactly what attracted her to him. In her words, "What I liked a lot about him was his love for God. Besides, he wasn't the typical footballer who believed he had already achieved everything."
Falcao on God and his faith: “I made the decision to follow Jesus Christ and to let Him guide my life, which is where things change. Because it wasn’t about me and my desires anymore, or what I wanted, but about what God’s plans and purposes were for me.
We are made up of spirit, and I believe that only God can satisfy the spiritual part. There’s the material world, but there’s also a spiritual aspect to life. We can have everything, but if we’re not satisfied spiritually, then it’s as if we had nothing, and we feel empty."
"With Jesus, we can be assured that He will never leave us. That He will always be there, something which I have experienced in my own life, through His faithfulness, through His love, and through showing me that He had paid a price for our lives, which was that of His Son, Jesus.”
Falcao's faith can also be seen proudly on his social media platforms. On April 1, 2018, he tweeted in Spanish:
"Through Jesus we have hope, he rose again. If you declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved / Jesus is our hope. He did it all for you. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe (...) you will be saved."
His Twitter bio reads: 'Professional football player. Follower of Jesus' in Spanish.
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