13 Notable Catholic soccer (football!) stars in the 2018 World Cup
The forward says he will go on a 30-mile religious pilgrimage to San Nicolas, in his native Argentina, to celebrate a World Cup win (after running about 50 miles in 7 games), and has a large tattoo of Jesus on his right bicep.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
The multiple Ballon d’Or winner prays before matches, collects rosaries sent by fans, and unlike many players, doesn’t get tattoos as he’s a frequent blood donor.
3. James Rodriguez, Colombia
The attacking midfielder has a tattoo of Jesus on his shin, and is quick to share on social media that his success is all down to God.
4. Sergio Aguero, Argentina
The striker will join Messi on the pilgrimage, but has added a challenge by declaring they’ll both run the distance to San Nicolas.
5. Andres Iniesta, Spain
Before the 2010 World Cup, the midfielder promised that if his team won, he would take a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, the “Way of St. James.”
6. Sergio Ramos, Spain
The central defender has a tattoo of the Virgin Mary on his upper left arm.
7. Gianluigi Buffon, Italy
The popular 40-year-old goalkeeper made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia after the Euro 2012 championships.
8. Radamel Falcao, Colombia
The very devout striker studies the Bible and prays before each game, and also tries to get his teammates involved, too. On scoring, he lifts his jersey to reveal a t-shirt saying: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”
9. Manuel Neuer, Germany
The outstanding goalie supports a Catholic group that helps combat child poverty and a youth group led by Amigonian friars, a branch of the Capuchins.
10. Olivier Giroud, France
The devout Catholic striker has a tattoo of Psalm 23 (in Latin): “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” and has also shared how religion brings him peace.
11. Vedran Corluka, Croatia
Fleeing his native Bosnia during the war, the center back returned to help fund and rebuild his village church.He also wears a wristband with Catholic icons.
12. Edinson Cavani, Uraguay
In an interview, the striker referred to himself as “an athlete for Christ,” saying: “I play for Him, to give Him glory, to thank Him for giving me the ability to play football.”
13. Jakub Błaszczykowski, Poland
As a child, tragedy struck this winger when his father murdered his mother, but he remains firm in his faith and was ambassador of the World Youth Day in 2016.