Le Figaro reports that French Muslim professional soccer players Mahamadou Diarra, Karim Benzema and Lassana Diarra are not fasting during this year’s Ramadan period to remain eligible to play for their team, Real Madrid.
Three stars from the Real Madrid football club have begun fasting for the month of Ramadan, according to AS. Lassana Diarra, Mahamadou Diarra and Karim Benzema will follow a special program of daytime fasting designed by club doctors to help the players during their intense summer training. Sport reports that Barcelona trio Erical Abidal, Keita and Yaya Toure, all Muslims, will delay their Ramadan fasting to honour their professional commitments with the club.
According to Islam Online, a record number of nine Muslim soccer players are part of the 23-person squad of Les Bleus (the French team’s nickname). 25-year-old Franck Rib_ry is known for supplicating to God before the game kickoff, saying Islam is the source of power for me inside and outside the football field. Other players include Eric Abidal, Thierry Henry, Lilian Thuram, Nicolas Anelka, Lassana Diarra, Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Haten Ben Arfa. Sixteen teams are participating in the tournament which runs until June 29. The winner of the Euro 2008 will represent the European continent at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.