Footballers who found God: Radamel Falcao, Alisson, Gavin Peacock and more

With Easter approaching, Planet Sport takes a look at players for whom football isn’t their only religion.

Whether it be crossing themselves when they step out onto the pitch, celebrating by pointing skywards or revealing slogans in praise of the Lord, God is never too far from the thoughts of certain players.

Some go even further, as Planet Sport reveals.

Gavin Peacock

Peacock had an 18-year professional career with spells at Newcastle United, Chelsea and QPR before hanging up his boots in 2002.

He went on to be a pundit for BBC Sport among others, but in 2008 he left for Canada to study theology with a view to becoming a Christian minister.

Peacock said of his moment of revelation: "I was reading the Bible - as I had done for many years - when I sensed a burning inside, not just to read it but to teach it. There was a desire to do it. But also a compulsion. A joyful compulsion, I'd call it. There's a great joy when I preach or when I lead in a church but I also feel like I must do it."

Gavin Peacock Calgary Feb14

Currently an associate pastor at Calvary Grace Church in Calgary, Peacock has co-authored four books on what the Bible teaches us about gender roles, lust, homosexuality and transgenderism. Not your everyday ghost-written footballer fayre.

Alisson Becker

Alisson Becker Liverpool Sep21

The Brazilian is a devout Pentecostal Christian and has been coined as 'The Holy Goalie' by fellow Liverpool man Virgil van Dijk.

Alisson celebrated winning the Champions League by wearing a T-shirt bearing "† = ❤" on it and the former Roma keeper also holds baptisms in his swimming pool. Roberto Firmino and Fred's wife, Monique Salum, are just two of the people to be baptised at his residence.

John Bostock

John Bostock Doncaster Rovers Oct21

The founder and leader of the group and podcast named Ballers in God, John Bostock has been on quite the journey since emerging at Tottenham Hotspur.

Bostock represented England at under-16 through to under-19 level but failed to recognise the promise which saw him offered a 10-year contract by Barcelona before he had even played a professional match.

The midfielder almost walked away from the game at 21 after being released by Spurs, but the devout Christian says that God told him to carry on playing the game he loved.

Bostock now has no less than 14 clubs on his CV, including stints in Canada and Turkey, and is currently at League One side Doncaster Rovers.

Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo Watford Dec15

Former Manchester United loanee Odion Ighalo is a devout Christian, who every month donates a percentage of his earnings to Nigerian charitable organisations to help impoverished children, schools and widows.

Ighalo has spent the majority of his career playing for clubs owned by the Pozzo family, in the shape of Udinese, Granada and latterly Watford, becoming one of the most-loved players in his home nation of Nigeria in the process of scoring over 150 goals in his club career.

The striker's most common celebration is running to the corner of the pitch, dropping to his knees and pointing to the sky with both hands to celebrate God. There has been plenty of praise coming the big man's way recently, with Ighalo having netted seven in six games for new side Al-Hilal.

Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani PSG God Nov16

From a former Man United marksman to a current one. Edinson Cavani has been plagued with injuries this season and is rumoured to be leaving Old Trafford at the season's conclusion with La Liga reported to be his preferred destination.

The 35-year-old has played for some high-profile teams in Europe including PSG and Napoli and has bagged over 400 goals at club and international level in a superb career.

Away from the sport, the Uruguayan frontman is a Christian and member of the Athletes of Christ organisation. When asked if he was an athlete of Christ, Cavani said: "No. no. no. I am an athlete for Christ."

Carlos Roa

Carlos Roa Argentina Jul98

Best known in England for being the goalkeeper that helped Argentina knock the Three Lions out of the 1998 World Cup on penalties, Roa had walked away from the game less than a year later.

Roa, who made 16 appearances for Argentina between 1997 and 1999, refused to discuss a new contract with Mallorca on account of believing the world was going to end in 2000.

Instead the 30-year-old retreated to a farm in rural Argentina where he preached and carried out charity work.

The Argentine, whose temporary retirement scuppered a proposed move to Manchester United, subsequently returned to play for Mallorca when Armageddon failed to materialise.

However, he was now refusing to play Sundays.

Keylor Navas

Keylor Navas Costa Rica Feb12

Costa Rica's number one Keylor Navas was part of a footballing miracle when his small nation qualified for the 2018 World Cup and then proceeded to qualify from a group featuring heavyweights Uruguay, England and Italy.

In the round of 16, they beat Greece 5-3 on penalties, but their dream run came to an end after a penalty shootout defeat to the Netherlands.

The PSG goalkeeper has said of religion, "It changed my life. It filled the void in my heart. That is why I am so grateful."

He was also grateful to have Cristiano Ronaldo in his side while at Real Madrid. Though that didn't extend to worshipping a player who has been described as a footballing god.

"There is only one God," he said. "Cristiano is the best player in the world, but God is God and totally different."

Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao Colombia Chile Sep12

Falcao may be 36 years of age and coming towards the end of his career, but 'El Tigre' certainly believes his footballing success owes much to his beliefs.

The striker is Colombia's all-time top scorer and has won league titles in France and Portugal as well as cups in Portugal and Spain, including the Europa League with Porto.

The former Atletico Madrid player, who also spent time on loan in England with Chelsea and Manchester United, has taken to celebrating goals by lifting up his shirt and revealing a vest saying: 'Con Jesus nunca estara solo' which translates to 'With Jesus you'll never be alone'.

He also claims his Deadline Day move to Manchester United in 2014 was instigated by God.

He said: "My wife and I did not want to wait until the last day but God did it because he wants us to experience extreme situations to trust him."

Presumably, Falcao and his wife did not trust God enough, with just four goals in 29 appearances for the Red Devils prolonging the extreme situation for an entire season before he was packed off back to Monaco.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor Man City Aug09

The former Arsenal striker was looking for a way out at Tottenham and seemed all set to reunite with Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa in August 2015. The Villans had even gone to the lengths of getting his name printed on a shirt for the grand unveiling.

However, at the 11th hour the Togo international opted to remain at White Hart Lane, claiming he did not receive a sign from God to make the move to Villa Park.

Whether God later intervened to facilitate his subsequent move to Crystal Palace is not known, but Adebayor described it as the "worst decision" of his career. He scored once in 15 games for the Selhurst Park club.

Some good did come out of his failed move to Villa, however. The unused printed shirt was later auctioned for charity, raising £305 for the Acorns Children's Hospice.

READ MORE: Seven relegation-threatened players who deserve another shot in the Premier League

Latest news