ROME (AFP) - Practising Muslim Abdelkader Ghezzal celebrated the start of Ramadan, his religion's holy month of fasting, with a goal in Siena's 2-1 home to defeat to AC Milan but then admitted he would not be able to fulfill his religious obligations.
During the month of Ramadan, practising Muslims fast between daylight hours, abstaining not only from food but also drink, including water.
Such a practice is made that much tougher in the summer months in Europe when the days are longer than in Arabia, where the religion was founded, and humidity as well as temperature creeps up.
Much of Italy is currently experiencing temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius while sunset is at around 6.30am and sundown not until around 8pm.
That means a Muslim would have to fast for more than 13 hours and for a professional sportsman that challenge becomes even harder.
And Ghezzal, who was born in France to Algerian parents but plays his international football for the African country, admitted that for him it simply would not be possible to play to his maximum potential if he were to observe Ramadan.
"I observe the fast during my days off, when there are no games or training," he revealed.
"I've always observed Ramadan but I have had to change my habits for health reasons from the first year that I became a professional.
"I was at Crotone (then in Serie C1 but now in Serie B) but after two weeks I felt ill and had to stop."
Not all Muslim footballers or athletes stop fasting during Ramadan, though, and Ghezzal insists it is a matter of each person's constitution.
Some players can handle it, others simply can't.
"It depends on your physical constitution. I'm a player who never holds anything back," added the 23-year-old.
"However Houssine Kharja, my team-mate last year at Siena who is now at Genoa, manages to observe it completely, except for match-days."
Despite eating and drinking normally during Ramadan, Ghezzal insists he is not a fairweather Muslim.
"Playing football is a way to earn a living. You're not asked to make yourself ill but to observe the fast if the conditions are right," he added.
Some players such as Arsenal's Samir Nasri and Manchester City's Kolo Toure have also previously admitted to not observing Ramadan if it falls during the football season.
However, others such as Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka and Momo Sissoko of Juventus do continue to fast despite the demands of playing.
Inter Milan's Ghanaian Sulley Muntari is also Muslim.
He was substituted in Sunday's draw with Bari and coach Jose Mourinho explained that in his view "Muntari had some problems related to Ramadan - perhaps with this heat it's not good for him to be doing this (fasting).
"Ramadan has not arrived at the ideal moment for a player to play a football match," opined Mourinho.
|Napoli 2 AC Milan 1: Insigne stars after Italy snub as leaders move four points clear|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Madrid 0: Defences dominate in historic derby|
|Pjaca scores winner for Juventus Primavera on return from injury|
|Lions don´t recover like humans! - Ibrahimovic and Pogba thrilled to be back|
|Pogba was different class - Mourinho praises midfielder after impressive comeback|
|Competition is good – PSG boss Emery explains benching Mbappe|
|Klopp apologises after Moreno misses birth of child|
|Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1: Pogba shines as Ibrahimovic makes his return|
|Hodgson accuses Niasse of diving to win Everton penalty|
|´Why not?´ - Hazard believes Chelsea can catch City|
|Roma 2 Lazio 1: Nainggolan stunner proves decisive|
|Bournemouth hat-trick hero Wilson: I need to be selfish|
|Valverde admits scoreline in Leganes win was ´excessive´|
|Pulis leaves uncertain future to West Brom board|
|Results not far away for struggling Swansea, claims Clement|
|Heynckes proud of 500 Bundesliga wins as Bayern go six points clear|
|Al-Hilal 1 Urawa Red Diamonds 1: Rafael earns valuable first-leg draw|
|Stones could be set for six-week spell on sidelines|
|Guardiola delighted to maintain rhythm after international break|
|Paris Saint-Germain 4 Nantes 1: Cavani double puts hosts six clear|
|Woeful Sunderland set new record ahead of expected Coleman appointment|
|Suarez unmoved despite ending Barca drought|
|Leganes 0 Barcelona 3: Scruffy Suarez double ends goal drought|
|Crystal Palace 2 Everton 2: Niasse equaliser boosts Unsworth´s case|
|Heynckes reaches record 500th Bundesliga win|
|Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield Town 0: Hat-trick hero Wilson stars for 10-man Cherries|
|Burnley 2 Swansea City 0: Old boy Cork stars as Dyche´s men win again|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Record-breaking Salah blows Saints away|
|Leicester City 0 Manchester City 2: Jesus & De Bruyne on target as Guardiola´s title tilt continues|
|West Brom 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard leads rampant champions in piling pressure on Pulis|
|They love the club - Wenger hopeful over Ozil, Sanchez deals|
|Bayern Munich 3 Augsburg 0: Lewandowski double sends leaders six points clear|
|Wenger hails tenacious Ozil after derby delight|
|Lacazette and Sanchez are always dangerous - Ozil|
|Pochettino fumes over refereeing decisions after derby defeat|
|I´m happy at Juventus - Allegri rejects Italy speculation|
|Lamela returns from injury for Tottenham U23s|
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Ozil and Sanchez come up trumps for Wenger|
|Kimmich: Working with Guardiola was incredible|
|Bale thanks Coleman after Wales coach steps down|
|Kane & Alli fit for Spurs at Arsenal, Lacazette starts|
|Sydney leapfrog slapstick Jets at A-League summit|
|Christensen guides the way for Loftus-Cheek & Abraham at Chelsea|
|Mertens: Sarri´s tactics give Napoli 12 men|
|Aubameyang back in Dortmund fold pre-Spurs|
|Bosz laments ´ridiculous´ goals|
|Madrid have best kids stockpiled – Simeone|
|Guardiola backs Stones to get even better|
|Ibrahimovic will start with bench role, says Mourinho|
|Injections to play a friendly – Mourinho slams England over Jones handling|
|Championship Review: Sheffield United go top|
|Schurrle: Dortmund couldn´t deal with Stuttgart counter-attacks|
|Conte laments Italy World Cup failure|
|Amiens 1 Monaco 1: Jovetic rescues point but champions give PSG boost|
|Stuttgart 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bosz pressure builds after more Burki mishaps|
|Sunderland target Coleman steps down as Wales manager|
|Conte´s wife tells him to grow a beard – Conte grows a beard|
|Simeone rules out Everton job, promising ´a couple of years at least´ at Atletico|
|Pique to miss Barcelona´s Leganes trip over personal matter|
|UEFA closes Roma ´monkey chanting´ case|
|Don´t worry about Messi renewal, Valverde tells Barcelona fans|
|´Griezmann? We´ll see´ – Valverde won´t rule out Barcelona pursuit of Atletico star|
|Unsworth surprised to see Allardyce snub Everton|
|Mourinho has ´immense respect´ for Benitez|
|Howe backs Defoe to make World Cup squad|
|Everton speculation out of my control - Silva focusing on Hornets|
|Conte concerned by Manchester City´s breakaway lead|
|Man City results ´perfect´, but Guardiola demands improvement|
|David Luiz back in Chelsea squad, Conte confirms|
|Recovered Klopp offers Liverpool fitness update|
|Guardiola confident Aguero in ´perfect´ condition despite hospital trip|
|Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Rojo back for Manchester United|
|Heynckes compiling list of potential successors|
|Modric & Carvajal fit for Madrid derby|
|Bayern begin talks over Wagner deal|
|Pulis angered as Chadli sidelined for ´foreseeable future´|
|Neymar to join Ronaldo at Real Madrid? Zidane speaks out on PSG star|
|Guardiola & Sane complete Man City award double|
|Brave Chapecoense secure top-flight status|
|Tottenham have overtaken Arsenal as north London´s best - Sherwood|
|Brisbane Roar 3 Melbourne City 1: Papadopoulos at the double as hosts finally win|
|Seaman: Wenger must start Lacazette against Tottenham|
|I am more than just a goal machine - Ronaldo ignores Real Madrid criticism|
|Skriniar not interested in Barcelona speculation|
|France need Benzema, says Aulas|
|Van Dijk could leave Southampton in January|
|Sanchez snubbed Barcelona switch - Osorio|
|Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Simeone and Zidane face dangerous, defining Derbi|
|Aubameyang baffled by Dortmund suspension|
|Pochettino lauds Wenger longevity as he eyes 20 years at Spurs|
|Ronaldo: Real Madrid don´t fear PSG|
|Zenit´s Mancini not thinking about Italy job|
|Wenger advises Pochettino to fight the ´fear´ of winning trophies|
|Ronaldo: I want seven Ballons d´Or... and seven children!|
|Howedes ready for long-awaited Juventus debut|
|Bayern´s Wagner interest confirmed by Nagelsmann|
|Dyche ´amazed´ at persistent Everton talk|
|Manchester United post record first-quarter revenues|
|Hodgson confident Benteke will be fit for Everton clash, unsure over Loftus-Cheek|
|Klopp returns to Liverpool training after hospital visit|
|Moreno urges Coutinho to reject Barcelona switch|
|Hamsik refuses to be distracted by Maradona record|
|CAS rejects Adrien Silva´s appeal|
|Aubameyang dropped by Dortmund for ´disciplinary reasons´|
|Aguero declares himself fit to face Leicester City|
|If Griezmann isn´t committed, he should leave – Koke|
|Knee surgery to sideline PSG´s Motta|
|Kane the same as Lewandowski, Eboue proclaims|
|Let Neymar focus on football - Emery|
|Spurs quartet return but Alderweireld set for longer absence|
|Ibrahimovic eyes different role on Manchester United return|
|Transfer target Messi was beyond Manchester City, says Robinho|
|´Ultimate defender´ Zouma one of Premier League´s best, claims Shawcross|
|Cantona baffled by Neymar´s PSG move|
|Loftus-Cheek must return to Chelsea, says Willian|
|Central Coast Mariners 1 Adelaide United 2: Kitto snatches dramatic win|
|Cazorla´s fitness woes the worst injury Wenger has known|
|Wenger trusts Lacazette completely|
|Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Demolition derbies, Raul´s revenge and other memorable capital clashe|
|Mourinho: Ibrahimovic will return in 2017|
|Spain and England at risk as World Cup draw pots confirmed|
|Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo, King of El Derbi|
|Gareca: World Cup spot is for the Peruvian people|
|World Cup: The 32 qualified teams|
|Peru 2 New Zealand 0 (2-0 agg): South Americans qualify for World Cup after 36-year wait|
|Ronaldo congratulates Corinthians on seventh Brazilian title|
|Van Dijk focused ahead of Liverpool clash – Pellegrino|
|Ravanelli: I´d bend over backwards to bring back Conte|