Liam Flint presents the array of Christian footballers who grace our screens at the top level, who may have snuck under the radar in this celebrity-fuelled sporting culture.
With the world of Sport evermore epitomising the entertainment industry it can he hard to stay true to oneself and simply ‘play football’. Such ideals as pleasing the public through money, fame and reputation make it very hard to stay out of the headlines, good or bad, leaving very few genuine ‘professionals’ who rock up and simply do their job. So how is it for those players who are sporting dual indentity, that of their club and of Jesus Christ? Do we notice them amongst the celebrity culture? Here are the top 10 Christian footballers that grace our television screens. . .
1) Edinson Cavani
Club: Paris Saint Germain (PSG)
His life of faith: The Uruguayan poacher is a member of www.atletidicristo.org, a website for the ‘Athletes of Christ’ along with fellow greats such as Lucio and Kaka. He also detailed in his book ‘What I have in my heart’ about his faith and how approaching Jesus has changed his life.
2) David Luiz
His life of faith: ‘Sideshow Bob’ was seen several times during his time at Stamford Bridge praying for the likes of Fernando Torres pre-match and wore a shirt reading ‘God is faithful’ after the Champions League final win over Bayern. He ranks Kaka as his sporting source of inspiration in living out his faith.
3) Radamel Falcao
His life of faith: When the striker is back in his native Colombia he is a Youth Group leader at his Evangelical Church in Buenos Aires and even met his wife there.The Red Devils new arrival is also heavily involved in projects to help disadvantaged children.
4) Javier Hernandez
Club: West Ham United
His life of faith: The new loanee kid on the block at Real is deemed to be somewhat of a prayer warrior. He revealed that he prays before every game in the centre circle for God’s protection on himself and all of the other players involved. He also gives thanks for God giving him the opportunity to do what he loves.
5) Brad Guzan
Club: Atlanta United
His life of faith: The American shot stopper spoke about his faith in Jesus over an interivew for ‘Beyond The Ultimate’, 2012, in which he stated “I think we all need Christ in our lives”. The Villa man has always been very open and forthright about his beliefs and ranks it highly above all footballing achievements.
His life of faith: The 22 year old revelation famously said that “Life only makes sense when our highest ideal is to serve Christ”. Known for his magical feet on the pitch, off it he is described as a humble individual who tithes 10% of his mega salary to his home Church in Brazil.
7) Steven Pienaar
Club: Bidvest Wits
His life of faith: The Toffess playmaker often reveals a ‘God is great’ message on his undershirt in goal celebrations and he has a celebration story of his own. Growing up in the rough townships of Souith Africa he believes his footballing career is a testimony to God’s protection on him.
8) Kieron Richardson
His life of faith: The well-travelled fullback found Christ in 2007, whilst playing for Sunderland. He is quoted to have said “Now I have Jesus in my life I feel good in my heart”.
He has even hinted that after his playing days are over he wants to do things for God.
Club: Sao Paulo
His life of faith: Perhaps the biggest Christian icon in football,the Brazilian famously wore a t-shirt reading ‘I belong to Jesus’ after Milan’s Champions League triumph in 2007.
He celebrates every goal by thanking the Lord and plans to become a pastor once he calls time on a wonderful playing career.
10) Daniel Sturridge
His life of faith: The England and Liverpool forward is very vocal about his faith and is well known for his tweets quoting scripture, most noticeably, Phillippians 4:13. He recently spoke openly about his faith in an article where he was compared with his England strike partner Rooney, for having an easy ride in being able to express his beliefs.