Musiala: 'I don't feel any pressure on the pitch'

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Congratulations, Jamal Musiala! The 18-year-old attacking midfielder got his first call-up for the German national team on Friday. Musiala is the rising star at FC Bayern and has already made 28 appearances for the first team this season. In the current issue of the FCB members' magazine "51", Musiala talked about his journey to signing his first professional contract and what his game has to do with chess. Here's an excerpt of the interview.

Jamal Musiala - The interview

Congratulations, Jamal! You've just turned 18 and come of age. How far are you with getting your driving licence?
"I've started, but I still need a little time. I still have to do the first aid course and the theory exam. I often study for it when we're on the bus. I'm looking forward to being independent and driving on my own."

How do you get to training at the moment?
"My mother drives me there and picks me up again. I am infinitely grateful to my parents. They've always supported me in everything and literally brought me all the way to Säbener Straße."

Did your footballing talent come from your father?
"It must have. He was a good footballer himself, even if not at professional level. I started playing football when I was three, in front of the house with my father. We'd pass the ball back and forth, I'd have to dribble it out, or he'd go in goal. When I was four, I went to my first club, where I played with kids who were a year older."

Being the youngest in the team is a common thread throughout your football development. How did that shape you?
"I always had to deal with bigger and stronger opponents. In order to succeed, I had to find other solutions and learn how to use my physique in the right way. At school in England I also played chess. There you have to be very proactive, always looking at what your opponent might do. I liked that."

Exquisite skills, close ball control and fast, snake-like movements. This is how Jamal Musiala thrills the Bayern fans.

When you were seven, you moved from Fulda to England because your mother had to spend a semester abroad. Do you feel English or German today?
"I was once asked in which language I think and dream. Somehow it's both: English and German. Both belong to me. I always spoke German with my mother at home. At the same time, I felt very comfortable in England, I made friends there, and I'm still in touch with many of them every day. We send each other messages and play on the Playstation. They're also happy for me, with how far I've come."

What makes you upset?
"Nothing in particular. Of course my brother and sister annoy me sometimes (laughs) . No, I love them both very much. I'm just an easygoing, open-minded guy. And if I'm ever annoyed, it's usually at myself. That happens more often (grins)."

And how does it feel when Hansi Flick tells you in the final of the Club World Cup that you're about to come off the bench?
"Then my heart rate goes up a bit. But I train every day to be ready for just a moment like that, also mentally. When I'm on the pitch, I just enjoy it, I want to have the ball and play. That's when I have a clear head and don't feel any pressure."

Were you also that cool ahead of your first training session with the first team, in February 2020?
"The night before, I checked my alarm clock six or seven times to make sure I wouldn't oversleep. I didn't sleep much either. When I got to the dressing room, no one was there because there was a meeting. I didn't dare sit down anywhere, in someone else's seat. I just stood around and waited - until Joshua Zirkzee came and helped me."

You can read more about Jamal Musiala in the current issue of the FCB members' magazine "51" (in German). (Photos: Stephie Braun)


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