Liverpool's Salah, Mane will fast during Ramadan Champions League final
The two Muslim wingers, who have been praised for their previous performance despite abstaining from food and water during matches, will not break their religious obligations for the much-anticipated final in Madrid.
“There is no problem with the fast of my players, I respect their religion, they were always wonderful and they offered the best whether they were fasting or not,” Klopp said during a press conference on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final.
“There are days when Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah came into the dressing room because they were praying,” Klopp said. “In this life, there are many things more important than football.”
Last year, a debate broke out after Egyptian football star Mohammed Salah decided to keep his fasts during the World Cup.
After weeks of speculation, Salah - who has been continuously praised for promoting a positive image of Muslims in the UK and further afield – told his fans he would be observing Ramadan traditions, not only by stepping up his charity work, but by observing the dawn to dusk fast.
While many Muslims praised him for his loyalty to Islam, some expressed concern about his health and his deliverance in the infamous World Cup games, which in 2018 coincided with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Klopp’s sentiments contradict comments from Egyptian football manager Ahmed Hossam Hussein Abdelhamid, also known as Mido, who spoke out against players fasting during Ramadan while playing in football matches, claiming it would put a strain on their health.
Mido triggered a debate online after urging footballers to refrain from fasting in a bid to lessen the pressure on their bodies.
“I don’t think players sld [should] be allowed to play a football game at this level with such high tempo and physical demands while they are fasting!!”, he tweeted.
He went on to say that while it is acceptable for footballers to fast for religious reasons, it is the duty of management to stop them from doing so for the sake of their health.
“I mean fair enough for the boys that they want to fast from their religion point of view but sorry the Game sld [should] say no you are not allowed”, he added.
Despite some agreeing with his comments, many hit back at Mido citing freedom of choice to practice their faith in football.
“Everyone is free to decide what he is able to do. No one has the right to choose for them, and please don't say they are still young and can't decide. Those players give decisions and signs contracts with millions of dollars so I think they are mature enough to choose to sast”, tweeter Mohamed Wahdan said in a reply.
During the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from food and water from sunrise to sunset, and immerse themselves in prayer and remembrance of God.
Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab