Paul Pogba has opened up about his conversion to Islam in recent years.
The Manchester United midfielder recently made a pilgrimage to Mecca during the holy month of Ramadan and claims becoming a Muslim has made him ‘more peaceful inside’.
Asked what being a Muslim meant to him in The Times’ new Life Times podcast, Pogba said: “It’s everything. That’s what makes me thankful for everything.
“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.
“Islam is not the image that everyone sees – terrorism… What we hear in the media is really something else, it’s something beautiful.
“You get to know it. Anybody can find that he feels connected with Islam.”
The World Cup winner with France also admitted that turning to Islam has helped him be more focused.
Pogba continued: “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.”