5 more Christian stars of Euro 2016

Europe's biggest sporting spectacle has been underway for a week now, and already there have been some incredible moments on the pitch (as well as a few hugely disappointing ones off it). Payet's goal, Boateng's goal-line clearance, Akinfeev's save; if the next three weeks continue to unfold in the same vein, then some fantastic sporting memories will surely be made.

Meanwhile, Christian Today continue to unearth the real story of the tournament. Before Euro 2016 began we told you about five of the Christian players who were taking part in the event, and one week in we've got five more - including two of the biggest stars of the whole show. So here are another group of stellar sportsmen who are not only aiming for earthly but eternal glory...

Julian Weigl - Germany


One of the most upsetting things about the German football team (unless you happen to be German) is that every time one of their awesome, world-conquering players finally gets too old to play, they somehow find an equally brilliant young player to replace him. That's exactly the story with Julian Weigl, the 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder who's making his tournament debut at Euro 2016. He's also a Christian who attends church on Sundays and reads the Bible, according to German celebrity site starflash.de.

David Alaba - Austria


One of the hottest young players in the tournament – and a regular starter for Bayern Munich – Alaba is also a committed believer whose social media profile reads simply: "My power is in Jesus." Before his team's opening match against Hungary, Alaba tweeted Phillippians 2:4: "not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" as a reference to the sort of teamwork which his game embodies. Alaba nearly scored within 60 seconds, but Austria surprisingly went on to lose the game 2-0; meaning Alaba will now need to find something special against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo this coming Saturday.

Yohan Cabaye - France


The gifted Crystal Palace and France midfielder is known for his creative vision and eye for goal, but he's less well-known for his devout Christian faith. Cabaye is a Catholic who sports a tattoo of the word 'Jesus' on his right arm, and who gave an interview to respected newspaper Le Parisien entitled 'The older I get, the more my faith grows'. He told the newspaper: "I cannot live without it [my faith]", and explained that he became a Christian while having a difficult time at former club Lille. He says he "immersed" himself in the faith for five years, also being baptised in that time, and now carries a Bible with him at all times.

Raheem Sterling - England


Few players have borne so much of the weight of expectation so early in their career as England's pacy but oft-criticised winger Raheem Sterling. Still only 21 years old, he made an extraordinary £49 million move from Liverpool to Manchester City, and found himself in the starting line up for England's ultimately disappointing opening game against Russia. Despite all that pressure and criticism, Sterling has still been prepared to speak out about his Christian faith, and posts messages on his twitter profile to that effect, including retweets of messages from an account called 'Love Like Jesus', and a personal note (possibly to himself) to "Walk boldly through the doors God opens for you and don't become discouraged when He closes one."

Jerome Boateng - Germany


One of the best centre-backs in the tournament produced one of the outstanding moments of the first round of matches when acrobatically clearing a Ukrainian shot off the line in his team's opening 2-0 win. Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng also literally wears his faith on his sleeve, thanks to a huge tattoo of Jesus on his right forearm. Boateng was plunged into controversy when he soaked Muslim team-mate Franck Ribery with beer during a post match celebration, but while he's not going to be a poster-boy for inter-faith relations, he does have a living faith, helped by the presence of a huge Christian contingent in the Bayern dressing room.

Thanks to Ollie Baines of (brilliant) Christian sports site xtheline.co.uk for his help in compiling this and the previous article, and also to twitter users @brookbvb and @theonesoul. If you know of even more Christian players at Euro 2016, please let me know!

Martin Saunders is a Contributing Editor for Christian Today and the Deputy CEO of Youthscape. You can follow him on Twitter: @martinsaunders