“If you don’t believe in your dreams, you can’t achieve them.”
That’s Noussair Mazraoui, Bayern Munich’s new right-back signing in this transfer window, in more picked-up pieces from his recent interview with Tz. He’s living large now, on the cusp of stardom at one of football’s glitziest clubs — but through all the work and rewards of his career, Mazraoui stays grounded in his faith. It’s what has helped him get to where he is today.
“I have my religion,” Mazraoui said. “That’s number one in my life... [praying] helps me a lot to deal with things that don’t go my way, or things that turn out in my favor. This way of thinking helps me to go through life.”
Mazraoui, who is Muslim, prays five times a day. And at Bayern, he’ll find a teammate to share in these important daily rituals in new forward line leader Sadio Mané.
“We will certainly [pray together] during the season,” he said, though at least at the time of the interview, they hadn’t had the occasion to discuss it.
Being Muslim also means observing Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a month of commemoration and reflection. It’s also a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, from which professional athletes are not exempt — no matter the stakes of their ongoing competitions.
“It’s okay, but sometimes it’s also very exhausting,” Mazraoui shared. “Many people don’t know what their body is capable of. The body can achieve a lot if the will is sufficient. It doesn’t affect my performance — sometimes, I even perform better during Ramadan. Because it is a holy month. My faith gives me strength and also drives me on the pitch.”
Off the pitch, the fresh arrival from the Dutch Eredivisie’s AFC Ajax is also fast adjusting to life in Munich, where he can enjoy his hobbies (among them, fishing) as well as work on his German (“similar to Dutch”).
And he’s found a new house as well — adding a physical center while he maintains his spiritual one.
“That gives me a home,” Mazraoui said. “Munich is really a great city that offers a lot ... I really like walking through the English Garden. I’ve also been to Lake Tegernsee. The nature is fantastic. I like that there are urban places in Munich, but also ones where you can escape from the hectic life.”
With a career that’s taking off and professional pressures that won’t slow down, it’s good that Noussair will have a lot of solid foundation to lean on.