London ball

Who is the real Jamal Musiala? Meet the German Superstar in South London

Few would have thought just two years ago that Jamal Musiala, with his slight build, average height and innocent attitude that earned him the nickname ‘Bambi’, would become one of Germany’s key players. for the 2022 World Cup.

The 19-year-old is considered one of the biggest hopes in world football having thrived for European giants Bayern Munich since his breakthrough in 2020 – and he will get the chance to showcase his talent on the biggest stage today. today when the Germans launch their Group E campaign against Japan.

The teenage sensation, after a stellar start to the season with Bayern Munich where he has scored nine goals and provided six assists so far, is set to be Germany’s conductor in attack, operating between midfield central and the front line.

His pace, passing, creative play and scoring ability quickly drew comparisons with other big names, with former Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus drawing parallels with Argentina great Lionel Messi.

Musiala, who moved from Germany to England aged seven with his family, cut his teeth in England as a youngster, working through the national youth system to England’s Under-21s before joining Bayern in 2019.

But Musiala, who is close friends with England superstar Jude Bellingham, opted to play for his native country at the World Cup, dealing a blow to coach Gareth Southgate’s England side.

“It was not an easy decision for me. I have a heart for Germany and a heart for England. Both hearts will continue to beat,” Musiala told The Athletic after confirming his allegiance.

Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala shoots the ball during a training session at Saebener Strasse training ground in April this year

He came through the national youth system all the way to England Under-21 before joining Bayern in 2019.

He came through the national youth system all the way to England Under-21 before joining Bayern in 2019.

Here the football sensation is pictured with his family at the Allianz Arena on May 8, 2022

Here the football sensation is pictured with his family at the Allianz Arena on May 8, 2022

Musiala (bottom row, second from right) is a close friend of Jude Bellingham (bottom row far left)

Musiala (bottom row, second from right) is a close friend of Jude Bellingham (bottom row far left)

Southgate previously admitted at a press conference: “We wish he had stayed [with England] definitely. But when you train at Bayern Munich every day and you’re surrounded by Bayern Munich and German players, it’s a bit more difficult and of course his family has those strong ties.

“We enjoyed working with him when he was in our junior teams. He was a really nice guy to work with. We knew he was going to be, and he is, a good player.

But Monday Musiala credited his youthful period in England with helping him develop his creative game which quickly turned him into one of the sport’s rising stars.

“I think a comparison with Messi is something like an honor,” Musiala told a press conference.

“He’s been playing at the highest level for so long and being compared to him is a bit difficult. I just focus on myself and what I can do best as Jamal and keep going.

He carried a piece of advice he received from his English coaches that helped him become the player he is today.

“I think in England you learn different things than in Germany. I took a lot of that with me. They used to say ‘play with freedom’,” he said.

“It’s something I took with me in my career and it will stay with me.”

Musiala has credited his youthful period in England with helping him develop his creative game which quickly turned him into one of the sport's rising stars.

Musiala has credited his youthful period in England with helping him develop his creative game which quickly turned him into one of the sport’s rising stars.

Jamal Musiala posing during the official portrait session of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on November 17, 2022 in Doha, Qatar

Jamal Musiala posing during the official portrait session of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on November 17, 2022 in Doha, Qatar

Born to a Nigerian father and a German mother in Stuttgart, Musiala was first raised in Fulda, central Germany, until his parents moved to Southampton when he was seven years old. while his mother Carolin was studying at university.

Looking for a local club, his father Rich went to St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton where he met Jazz Bhatti, who works for the Saints Foundation charity and also helps run the City Central club with his brother Rosh.

Jazz suggested taking young Jamal to Saturday morning practice with Rosh.

Musiala, who reportedly spoke no English at the time, played for 10 minutes before Rosh called his brother.

“Some of the things he was doing were ridiculous – I couldn’t believe he was seven,” he told the Telegraph.

“Everything we showed, he would do better than us. He was also a special person. In one match, he scored five goals very quickly but could see that some of his teammates were unhappy not to score. He then tried to make sure they all scored. They all did but one and he was so upset.

“The kids loved him. They were just hanging out to watch him practice. He stayed with us for six months, but left an incredible legacy.

Musiala was born to a Nigerian father and a German mother in Stuttgart and played for Chelsea

Musiala was born to a Nigerian father and a German mother in Stuttgart and played for Chelsea

Jamal Musiala of Chelsea takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Menin Gate on December 12, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium

Jamal Musiala of Chelsea takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Menin Gate on December 12, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium

Musiala briefly played for the Saints academy, had a stint in Germany before returning to London and at the age of eight joined the academy at Chelsea where he became close to the family of his fellow player of Callum Hudson-Odoi Academy, who is two years older.

He broke Hudson-Odoi’s goalscoring record at Whitgift School in Croydon, the independent school which is also Victor Moses’ alma mater.

Reports indicate that he was also an excellent chess player and even composed poems.

Musiala has represented England at U15, U16, U17 and U21 levels.

After eight years at Chelsea, he joined Bayern in 2019, moving to Munich with his mother.

He made his professional debut for the Bavarians a year later and became the club’s youngest goalscorer with a strike against Schalke aged 17 years and 205 days.

Musiala is a versatile player who can play virtually any position in midfield.

He said he still receives messages about his decision to play for Germany instead of England and takes it as a compliment that fans are frustrated that he does not represent their country.

Eli Dasa of Israel and Jamal Musiala of Germany fight for the ball during the international friendly match between Germany and Israel at PreZero-Arena on March 26, 2022 in Sinsheim, Germany

Eli Dasa of Israel and Jamal Musiala of Germany fight for the ball during the international friendly match between Germany and Israel at PreZero-Arena on March 26, 2022 in Sinsheim, Germany

“I think when I was younger I always dreamed of playing at Wembley or being part of one of those big games”

“From my time with England at youth level, they have incredible talent and I was playing with a lot of them as well – under-21s, 19s,” he said.

“There were a lot of players who can have an amazing career and I think the English youth system is very good for that, to build on those talents and make sure they improve.”

“When you talked (about) breaking hearts, some of my friends messaged me here and there when they saw me saying I should have played for England and everything.

“We joke but I think they are still happy with my decision.

“I’m sure some England fans won’t be happy, but I think it means I’m doing good if it bothers some people that I didn’t choose their country.”

Musiala switched seamlessly between German and English at a pre-match press conference in the bowels of Wembley in September – a stadium he dreamed of queuing at as a child.

“It’s a bit crazy to think about things like that,” said Musiala, who came on for stoppage time under the arch in the Euro 2020 round of 16 loss to England l last year.

“I think when I was younger I always dreamed of playing at Wembley or being part of one of those big games. For me it wasn’t exactly where I was, I just loved playing football.

Musiala said choosing to play for Germany over England was not an easy decision

Musiala said choosing to play for Germany over England was not an easy decision

“It was my dream to be involved in such great games and to be part of a team where I can contribute a lot. I’m just happy where I am right now.

Musiala, who was also eligible for Nigeria because of his father, said choosing to represent Germany was not an easy decision but the right one for someone who clearly has a lot of affection for England.

He still keeps in touch with the likes of Jude Bellingham and Tino Livramento and fondly remembers meeting Southgate as a child.

“It was at my elementary school, Corpus Christi,” he said. “I saw it there, I had a photo. It’s not on me right now, but we took a picture together. It was nice to see him.

But now it’s about the present and focusing on his game for Germany.

Germany also face Spain and Costa Rica and are eager to make amends for their shock first-round exit in 2018.

“We have the quality to go far in this tournament,” Musiala said. “We are all leaving with the idea that we can win the title. We are well prepared and eager to leave.