No Room For Racism

Danjuma: My success came from hardship

11 Oct 2023

Everton forward discusses his background and Muslim faith as we celebrate diversity for No Room For Racism

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For Arnaut Danjuma, the unwavering support of loved ones coupled with a strong religious belief have helped him overcome a difficult upbringing to become a Premier League star.

The 26-year-old, who is on a season-long loan at Everton from Villarreal, was born in Nigeria to a Dutch father and Nigerian mother before being raised in the Netherlands - and after the separation of his parents he had a period of homelessness and spent time in foster care. 

His path to the Premier League underlines the message that greatness comes from everywhere, with 121 different nations being represented in the competition since 1992.

"I think my greatness is built on knowing I'll be satisfied because of what I've been through, and because of what I've been through I've been able to work hard every day," Danjuma says in the video above, which celebrates the diversity of the Premier League as part of the No Room For Racism initiative.

“I’ve been through tough times. I have never given up in life. I’ve always had the support from my loved ones. I’ve always had the support from my family, from my friends. I’m a devout Muslim so, for me, I will always give full credit and all respect to the Most High.

“I’m a firm believer in ‘with hardship comes ease’, and I think if you look to the best athletes, if you look to the people in this world that are the most successful, every single one of them, they’ve gone through hardship. And I think that’s where my greatness comes from as well.”

Danjuma has explained that his "cobra" goal celebration was born out of the diversity he experienced when he was growing up.

"I've got a lot of mates obviously who are into football as well, and we are all from different areas and different cultures," he says.

"There's a particular friend of mine who I used to play football with when I was young. We always used to call him a cobra because he resembles a cobra in the way that he used to play football. So, for me, my celebration is a reminder that up to this day we're still together."

Arnaut Danjuma
Also in this series

Part 1: How the Premier League is fighting racism
Part 2: How Sarr's family prepared him for success
Part 3: West Ham achieve Premier League equality standard
Part 4: How clubs and players supported No Room For Racism campaign
Part 5: Ogbene: It's important to teach younger generation about diversity
Part 7: How Wolves are educating young people about inclusion
Part 8: 'It's everyone's responsibility to do something about discrimination'
Part 9: Caicedo: Learning through diversity helped me reach the top
Part 10: Darren Bent on the men and women who've inspired him
Part 11: Benjamin Zephaniah on the Premier League and the legacy of Windrush
Part 12: Desailly: I looked far for my black sporting heroes
Part 13: Jimenez: Family support helped me become great
Part 14: Pittman: Sharing my knowledge will help the next generation
Part 15: Szoboszlai: My father helped me achieve the impossible
Part 16: Amadou Onana on the people who've inspired him
Part 17: Why family support is so important for Mbeumo and Wissa
Part 18: Gomez: Positive black role models are so important

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