In his interview with Sport Bild, Shkodran Mustafi touched upon is religion and how much it means to him.
The German is a devout Muslim and he admits that this is his priory, beyond football or anything else.
“My religion means so much to me and to my career,” he said to Sport Bild.
“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.”
He also revealed that playing for Valencia, who are sponsored by Estrella lager, proved difficult as part of the Muslim faith is abstaining from alcohol.
“I did win the battle in the end, you know. I did not want people thinking I’m doing this for beer advertising.
“At the end, the bottle remained standing but the club and the brewery apologised to me because they understood that as a Muslim alcohol is not acceptable in any form. And the moral is that such beliefs are now respected in Valencia.”
Faith is an intensely personal and important aspect of most people’s lives. Therefore, it’s not really a surprise that it comes before Mustafi’s desire to win a game. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that religion automatically comes before all footballers’ profession but I imagine it’s not that rare that it does.
Well done to Mustafi for being so open about his faith. It’s most likely a hard subject to speak about, especially as he’s probably not sure how it’ll be received by his new fans.
However, Arsenal are one of the most multicultural clubs with one of the most diverse fan bases in the world. I don’t see him receiving anything but support.