On Wednesday, Paul Pogba made his first start in the Premier League for Manchester United after coming back from injury against relegation contenders Burnley. He also got on the score sheet with a cracking finish from the edge of the box, scoring United’s only goal of the game that ended 1-1.
After producing a new trademark celebration, the France international bowed down on the ground, signifying and respecting his Islamic faith.
Along with other Muslim players in the Premier League such as Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, Pogba too fasts during the month of Ramadan. This can be a challenging task for a footballer whose physical fitness could be affected especially during high-intensity top-flight matches.
Last year, the Premier League did allow stoppages during matches to ensure players could break their fasts. Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana was one of the footballers who made use of the provision.
Pogba was not so fortunate last year as he had to play the entire game without breaking his fast against AS Roma in the Europa League. But that did not affect his performance one bit as he dropped a midfield masterclass and even scored from a header.
While his gesture after the celebration against Burnley reaffirmed his belief in Islam, he also took to Instagram later on to express the same. The player reposted a video that captured the discrimination and harassment faced by Muslim girl students for wearing Hijab in Karnataka.
The Hijab protests began on 4th February when a few students at a Government PU College in Karnataka were not allowed entry inside as they were wearing Hijab.
The video shows a right-wing Hindutva mob clad in saffron scarves harassing Muslim girls trying to gain entry at a local college. Pogba reposted the video on his story to express his solidarity with the Muslim students facing injustice. Fans in India have taken note of Pogba’s awareness of issues abroad and a lot of them commended the footballer for his gesture.