UEFA Champions League: creation of Jamal Musiala from Bayern Munich

UEFA Champions League: creation of Jamal Musiala from Bayern Munich

At just 17, he became Bayern’s youngest goalscorer in the Champions League earlier this season and looks very comfortable playing alongside world-class talents such as Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.

On Saturday he scored with a formidable effort in his side’s 1-1 draw with Union Berlin to remind the world of his efficiency in front of goal.

But despite the tearing of the record books since joining Bayern in 2019, it is in the UK that Musiala’s football education has been stepped up.

Having left Germany as a youngster, Musiala went through Chelsea Academy while attending Whitgift – an independent school in south London that has a history of helping develop players who have become outstanding professionals, including England international Callum Hudson. Odoi and former Nigerian international Victor Moses.

“I’m not saying we have a trained eye, but you can just see the way they stand, the way they apply, their enthusiasm. Obviously, the skill level is way beyond,” Andrew Martin, director of football for Whitgift, told CNN Sport.

“I think from the start Jamal was always marked for greatness. Jamal just stood out, his goal was phenomenal.”

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Jamal Musiala has made his way into Bayern Munich's first team this season.

‘Steely confidence’

Musiala has kept in touch with Martin and the Bayern prodigy still calls his former teacher “Monsieur”.

“He is extremely respectful of those around him, but he has an unwavering determination, confidence and self-confidence in himself, which is not arrogance. Far from it,” said Martin .

“I think that’s probably why he’s doing so well at the moment, he’s respectful of those around him. He’s obviously respectful of the world-class players he plays with at Bayern Munich and learns from them.

“But also, on the inside, I know Jamal will believe in himself and believe he’s as good as them and obviously I think he’s showing that right now.

“When he steps onto the pitch he doesn’t turn into a rampaging monster, but he goes from a calm and respectful boy to a world-class athlete.”

Martin still remembers the first time he saw Musiala play, when he was around 10 or 11 years old. Unfortunately for Whitgift’s director of football, it was for an opposing team.

“I think we were absolutely hit 8-4 by this school that came out of nowhere, that we didn’t really hear about,” he said with a laugh.

“Jamal played that day and I think he scored five of eight. So I remember him. He was a bit of a nervous little character but as soon as the game started he was electric. Absolutely amazing. . “

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Musiala made their international debut for the German national team this year.

Seven goals in one game

In less than a year, Martin saw that Musiala, who was already on the Chelsea books, had applied to join the school and was happy to see him play in a Whitgift kit.

Without having any official ties, the school has built a reputation and relationships with many local professional clubs – 27 current students are part of football academies around London.

In addition to providing the youngsters with elite coaching, Martin and his team also act as a liaison to help these boys balance their time between academic activities and the tasks of the football academy.

He took responsibility for managing Musiala’s schedule during his time at Whitgift and certainly reaped the rewards.

According to Martin, Musiala went on to score 122 goals in 36 appearances during his three years at Whitgift.

Two matches in particular still stand out to this day. The first was in an away game that involved hours of travel by minibus to face a rival team.

The game was called off shortly after the second half with Whitgift 10-0. Musiala had scored seven and, according to Martin, practically won the game with his first three touches of the ball.

But while his offensive prowess was obvious to see, his maturity and determination also shone through.

Martin remembers another match where a young Musiala was “kicked from the pillar to the post” by the opposition. After a word of encouragement in his ear at half-time, Musiala came out and won the match with two goals.

“That just sums it up,” Martin added. “His attitude and application was incredible … his drive and desire.

“He would be upset if he went out and didn’t score the chances he was given. His standards were so high. It was amazing.”

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Musiala's sense of purpose has made him one of the most promising talents in European football.

‘Immense pride’

While Whitgift is proud of her accomplishments, the school caters to all skill levels. He currently manages 21 teams of different levels over the years with over 400 boys playing. But no matter how good a player, academic work always comes first.

This is in part because Martin, who has played professionally himself, is fully aware that only a small percentage of players will ever make a career in the game.

“There is nothing wrong with these boys dreaming and wanting to be the next Callum and Jamal and using them as a yardstick,” Martin said. “It helps develop and improve them at their own pace.

“I think that’s the beauty of our school, that we can help the boys who might be the next Callum and Jamal, but at the other end of the scale we can also help and improve the boys who aspire to. be it, but unfortunately it will only ever be a dream.

“Listen, let them live their dream and let them enjoy it and progress at their own pace.”

Martin remains reluctant to use players like Musiala to motivate the current crop, but remains inherently proud of helping his former student reach the top.

“To see his rise in six years is, yes, pride. Huge pride, I guess,” he said, beaming at the memory of seeing Musiala make his international debut.

“It’s going to sound cheesy, but it would be like seeing my own son play and represent Bayern Munich and Germany. It really is.”

Trophies are now on Musiala’s agenda. Bayern are seven points ahead as they seek to win another Bundesliga title, but face a tougher test in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Musiala was an unused replacement in his side’s 3-2 loss to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, but he could well be called up for the second leg on Tuesday as Bayern seek to reverse the deficit in the French capital.

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