Premier League Christian footballers XI

Author: John McKenna

Premier League Christian footballers XI

John McKenna selects his Premier League fantasy team of Christian footballers.

Who do you have in your Premier League fantasy football team? Harry Kane? Sergio Aguero?

How about having a team of footballers who play not only for the badge and the fans, but for the glory of God?

Football's history is intimately connected with the church. English clubs such as Everton and Fulham were founded by churches, fans chant songs such as "When the Saints Go Marching In", and the hymn "Abide With Me" is sung before every FA Cup final - the oldest cup competition in the world.

Even today, the Christian faith is still openly displayed on football pitches, with players frequently crossing themselves before entering their pitch, and lifting their eyes and hands heavenwards when they score – not to mention offering up prayers when it comes to penalties.

In tribute to this, below is a starting 11 of players currently lighting up the Premier League with both their footballing talent and their Christian faith:


Ederson Moraes – Manchester City

The most expensive goalkeeper in the world after being signed from Portuguese club Benfica, Ederson Moraes is not afraid to display his faith: he has a large image of a dove and the words “I belong to Jesus” tattooed across his chest



Per Mertesacker - Arsenal

German defender Per Mertesacker is, according to Christian Today, an ambassador for the Evangelical Youth and Child Hospice in Wilhelmshaven.



David Luiz - Chelsea

"Everything in life belongs to God,” says Brazilian defender David Luiz, who has even written a children’s book about faith and football, called “Defending the Line”. When Chelsea won the Champions League, Luiz ran around the ground wearing a t-shirt saying "Deus e fiel", meaning "God is faithful".


Joel Ward – Crystal Palace

English defender Joel Ward kneels down to pray before every match, and has a verse from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians tattooed on his arm. He grew up in a Christian missionary centre, and is actively involved with Christian charity "Faith and Football".



David Silva - Manchester City

Another devout Catholic in the Spanish team. After he won the World Cup in 2010 Manchester City’s David Silva returned to his home in the Canary Islands to take part in his hometown’s celebrations of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.



Raheem Sterling - Manchester City

Silva’s Manchester City teammate Raheem Sterling has been known to tweet Bible verses and statements like “Trust in Him” on Twitter, and has described in interviews how he prays before every match.



Victor Wanyama – Tottenham Hotspur

Kenyan captain Victor Wanyama is a tough-tackling midfielder who always reads one or two Bible verses before each game.  Speaking about his faith and the Holy Spirit, he told CNN Sport: "Sometimes it fills me up. Not only mentally, but physically, as well. You feel the Spirit.”


Willian – Chelsea

Attacking Brazillian midfielder Willian regularly falls to his knees and points to the sky when he scores. During his bereavement of his mother, he told the press: “I had so much help — from God, Jesus Christ, my wife and two daughters.”



Daniel Sturridge - West Brom

West Brom and England striker Daniel Sturridge frequently takes to Twitter to praise God and looks heavenwards when he scores. The most famous example of his praise-filled celebrations came during the 2014 World Cup when, after scoring the equaliser for England versus Italy, TV cameras clearly showed Sturridge pointing to the sky, saying: “I love you Jesus, I praise you Father.”


Christian Benteke - Crystal Palace

Belgian striker Christian Benteke points to the sky whenever he scores. When asked about this habit when he was an Aston Villa player, Benteke told the Birmingham Mail“I do the celebration because I believe in God. So when I score the first thing I have to do is say thank-you to him. He has given me the power to score. I am a very religious person. I pray before the game and I pray after the game. I thank him for the good things that he has given me. Before each match I pray to him to make sure that nothing bad happens to all 22 players on the pitch. That is important. I ask for him to look after everyone. Before we are footballers, we are men, we are people together.”

Wayne Rooney - Everton

In his early career, England's all-time top scorer acquired a reputation for less-than-savoury activities off the field. However, since becoming a father, Rooney has returned to the Catholic faith of his childhood and has become increasingly open in talking about his faith. He now lifts his hands and eyes to heaven every time he scores.

If all this has left you asking whether football is an appropriate thing to pray about, or whether the pitch is an appropriate place to play, then try reading this earlier CCR article: Praying over football – right or wrong?

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