Two fingers pointing up, a smile on their faces, and dancing or a quick run is how some soccer players are celebrating the wins that make them famous in the World Cup.
Still, for several of these players, athletic skills are not their main concern out on the field as much as giving credit to God, who they believe is responsible for their wins: It’s their faith that’s granting them stardom in the World Cup, now that their skills are indisputable.
It’s faith strong enough to be displayed on the field despite the recent ban by FIFA of any kind of messaging to be present on the players undershirts, similar to those worn by players like Ricardo Kaká.
Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) July 4, 2014
Neymar’s religious faith
Players such as Neymar, who entered Brazils roster as a forward, are still giving faint-provoking wins to the hosting team. Hes often seen signaling up after scoring — a sign of the strong Catholic faith he shares in common with his family.
David Luiz is also known boast about his faith in media interviews, and for driving a van with bumper stickers displaying Christian messages when he plays in Portugal.
Neymar and Luiz are part of an elite group in this World Cup comprised of exceptional players who stand out for their performance, but are even more vocal about their religious faith.
Point in case, James Rodriguez, striker for Colombias national team
no te olvides de mi ley, y guarda en tu corazón mis mandamientos; pic.twitter.com/tpI8mIwqJe
James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) July 17, 2013
Rodriguez has not only become notable for his feats that surpass some of the more senior soccer stars in the World Cup, but for the tattoo on his left shin of the face of Jesus. A devout Catholic, he takes his faith to social media attributing his successful games to God.
He is known for being quiet and reserved but that hasnt kept him from being a quiet force within the team. He, as many have expressed, rose to the occasion after Falcao was kept from the teams roster due to an injury during a game in January with the AS Monaco FC, team for which both Falcao and Rodriguez play.
De la mano de Dios, FE. pic.twitter.com/QLuhjqwG1j
James Rodríguez (@jamesdrodriguez) July 4, 2014
Falcao is also known for his unshaken faith, which was instilled in him from a very early age. His faith in God and in loving people is what kept him focused during the early stages of his career away from home with the Argentine team, River Plate. There, coaches and team mates alike called him “pastor” and remember Falcao praying for all of them before every game–for everyones protection and well-being, as opposed to the ending score being in their favor.
Tim Howard, USAs number one goalkeeper, is now the man behind the 16 incredible saves against Belgium, which seemed impossible for a young Howard when he was diagnosed with Tourettes syndrome at the age of 11.
Living with Tourette’s is not easy. But God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well. He has done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these 2 gifts. He also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette’s syndrome, said Howard in a previous interview.
His grandmother is the reason for his strong faith today, as she was a pillar of strength and source of inspiration to continue working towards becoming an athlete. A gift he knows not to take for granted.
Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding.
Though the World Cup final game is near, the religious faith of these athletes remains unwavering, gaining them fame far beyond the football field and beyond this World Cup.