Listen to the full podcast on: LifeTimes.

In a recent interview, French footballer star Paul Pogba has opened up on his Muslim faith and the influence it has played in making him a “better person”.

“Islam is not the image that everyone sees, terrorism,” Pogba told The Times’ Life Times podcast, “What we hear in the media is really something else. It’s something beautiful.”

The French World Cup-winner and $163 million Manchester United midfielder sat down at the Bulgari Hotel in Milan to discuss everything from his on-pitch achievements to the importance of faith to the criticism he receives over his unique haircuts.

In the interview, Pogba describes his upbringing as not particularly religious. Though his mother was a practicing Muslim, the footballer was not raised to be one.

He developed an interest in Islam as an adult. It was through facing tough personal experiences that guided him towards practicing the religion of Islam. 

“I prayed once with my friends and I felt something different. I felt really good.”

Pogba has been proud to show his dedication and commitment to his faith on multiple occasions.

In 2017, just days after Manchester United grabbed the UEFA Europa League title, the footballer headed to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah – the minor pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Paul Pogba, (third from right) in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Source: Instagram @paulpogba

He documented the pilgrimage on social media, and posted a video of himself standing in front of the Kaaba donning the traditional clothing worn by Muslim men during the pilgrimage.

He described his experience to the holy city as life changing. 

“It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside,” he said in the podcast.

Pogba explains that for him this peace manifest through his prayer. 

“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.”

Indeed, there is certainly a lot to be thankful for as France took home the FIFA World Cup Trophy in 2018. 

French President Emmanuel Macron and Paul Pogba after France won the World Cup. Source: Twitter/MUFCScoop

When asked what Islam means to him, he explained, “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 …(is) a test.”

He explains that his religion has made him appreciate the diversity within humanity.

“Islam is just this – respect of the humanity and everything.”

Listen to the full podcast on LifeTime: