This team celebrates the important role that refugees have made to football, and how the sport can break down barriers in society. All of the players listed are refugees, or the children of refugees, who have overcome unimaginable circumstances to reach a pinnacle of football.
Piara Powar, Executive Director of Fare, said, “Refugees contribute to every aspect of life, across the world, our Refugee XI is a testament to their position in football. We stand together with them to celebrate and defend their rights and their presence amongst us.”
World Refugee Day – Fare 2020 Refugee XI
Steve Mandanda (Marseille, France)
A World Cup winner two years ago as part of the France squad Mandanda and his family were forced to leave Kinshasa in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, during the reign of Mobutu Sese Seko, and lived in Liege, Belgium before settling in France.
Victor Moses, Inter Milan (on loan from Chelsea), Nigeria
Moses was raised in Kaduna, Nigeria. His father and mother were attacked in their home and killed when religious conflict led to riots in 2002.
He was told of the news when playing football in the street, before being sent to England, where he was taken in by foster parents in south London.
Dejan Lovren, Liverpool, Croatia
A World Cup finalist with Croatia, Dejan and his family fled from what was formerly Yugoslavia to Germany to escape the Bosnian War when he was three years old.
After spending the next seven years there, his family were forced to leave after not having the necessary documentation and moved to Karlovac in Croatia.
Vedran Corluka, Lokomotiv Moscow, Croatia
Corluka was born in Derventa in Yugoslavia and was forced to move to Zagreb due to the Bosnian War in 1992.
The 34-year-old has featured for Dinamo Zagreb, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur during his career, and was also part of the Croatia squad that reached the World Cup Final in 2018.
Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich, Canada
Alphonso Davies was born to Liberian parents in a refugee camp in the Gomoa East District of Ghana, after The Second Liberian Civil War forced them to move there.
Alphonso and his family then moved to Canada when he was five years old, and the 19-year-old gained Canadian citizenship in June 2017.
Luka Modric, Real Madrid, Croatia
As a child, Modrić was forced to flee his hometown Zadar in the former Yugoslavia. His family lived in hostels during the Croatian war of independence in the early 90s.
In 2018 he won the Ballon D’Or, an award given to the world’s best player, after leading Croatia to the World Cup Final.
Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona, Croatia
Ivan was born in Mohlin, Switzerland, where his parents moved to after the Bosnian War broke out in the former Yugoslavia state.
Along with Modric, Rakitic was part of the Croatia squad that reached the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.
Shabnam Mobarez, Aalborg AK, Afghanistan
Shabnam emigrated to Denmark in 2002 due to the war in Afghanistan.
Mobarez now plays club football with Aalborg AK and is captain of the Afghanistan national football team.
Her and international teammate Khalida Popal also played a big role in uncovering widespread sexual abuse at the Afghan FA, leading to a lifetime ban for its former president.
Ode Fulutudilu (Aaland United, South Africa)
Ode was only three years old when forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) for Angola. But due to the civil war in Angola, she moved to Cape Town in South Africa.
She is a South Africa international and became the first woman from her country to sign for a top-flight club in Spain, when she joined Malaga in January 2019. She now plays for Aaland United in Finland.
Nadia Nadim (Paris St Germain, Denmark)
Nadia left her native Afghanistan as a child after her father, a general in the Afghan army, was murdered by the Taliban.
Together with her mother and sisters, Nadim escaped the country using forged passports, ending up in a refugee centre in Denmark.
She developed her football skills and became a Denmark international after gaining Danish citizenship in 2008.
Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace, Belgium)
Christian fled his native Zaire when he was just three years old, in order to escape a military dictatorship. The family ended up settling in Belgium, and the forward began his football career at Standard Liege.
He has since had spells with Genk, Aston Villa and Liverpool before moving to Crystal Palace. The 29-year-old has scored 15 goals in 37 caps for Belgium.