‘The next Messi’ – Musiala destined for greatness
|Host Nation: Qatar Dates: November 20-December 18 Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day by day TV listings – Full coverage details|
Priceless and peerless, German teenager Jamal Musiala is now being labeled as ‘the next Lionel Messi’.
And while the performances of the four-time world champions at the tournament have been mixed to say the least, Musiala’s individual displays have once again highlighted his exciting talent.
The Bayern Munich attacking midfielder, who spent much of his childhood in England but chose to play for the country of his birth, has been Germany’s shining light in Qatar.
Bottom of Group E by one point, they must now beat Costa Rica on Thursday and hope leaders Spain can overcome Japan to avoid a second straight World Cup first-round exit.
But former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus says Musiala is key to their hopes now and in the years to come.
“He can be the Messi of the future, he’s excellent,” Matthaus, a 1990 World Cup winner, told BBC Sport. “I’ve loved him over the last two years, I love his style of football and I love his personality.
“He’s 19, he’s doing the things that will make him a top footballer. He’s got a great pass, he’s smart with his thinking and he loves football.
“Musiala can be the next Messi because when Messi was 17/18 years old I met him for the first time when he was playing against Hungary. [the team I managed then] and was ejected after 40 seconds.
“He went out on the field and tried to show that he loves football, that he has passion for football, ‘I’m happy to be here’, and that’s [also] Musiala I’ve been a huge fan of his since two years ago, when he first came out.”
Musiala’s impressive numbers on Sunday night included 84% pass accuracy, 100% completed crosses, seven ground duels won, three key passes and the assist for Niclas Fullkrug’s late equalizer.
Musiala is already Bayern Munich’s youngest goalscorer, Germany’s second-youngest goalscorer and the youngest to play for Germany at a major tournament when they took part in Euro 2020.
Now he is leaning towards making an even bigger impact on the world stage.
Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino told BBC One: “For me, Jamal Musiala is one of the most talented young players.
“With Gavi, with Jude Bellingham, Pedri, he is a huge talent. I think he will grow during the World Cup. I think Germany can surprise.”
Former Germany coach and forward Jurgen Klinsmann added: “I think Musiala was Germany’s outstanding player at such a young age.
“He’s full of amazing elements, he’s fearless. He’s a fantastic young player who’s growing through the Bayern system. It’s his first World Cup and he’s only going to grow more and more.”
What’s next for the Stuttgart-born youngster, who joined Bayern in 2019 aged 16 after coming through Chelsea’s academy and playing for England at youth level?
His contract runs until 2026 at Bayern and German journalist Archie Rhind-Tutt believes he is priceless for the German giants.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think this is a real opportunity for him to announce his arrival on a big stage and see if he can drag this team to where it hasn’t really been resolved for Germany which move on.this is a real opportunity for him to cement his reputation.
“There has been talk in the German press that he cannot be sold to Bayern to the point that even 400 million euros would not be enough for Jamal Musiala.
“That’s how it’s talked about, he’s the future of this club. There’s so much in his game that makes him so good. Even when opponents try to cut him down like we saw with Lionel Messi during the season. years, doesn’t quit. It’s really something.”
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