Double interview with Phonsiala: 'Every Bayern generation has its opportunities'
They’re practically family, so they say: Alphonso Davies and Jamal Musiala explain in this interview what's important about their friendship, what quality they'd like to have from each other and what aims they have as Bayern's "next gen".
Interview with Alphonso Davies and Jamal Musiala
Alphonso, Jamal – what are your goals for 2023?
Alphonso Davies: “I obviously want to win every title possible with the team: the 11th league title in a row, the DFB Cup – and we always have our eyes on the Champions League. It’s in the FC Bayern DNA to want to win every competition that we’re in. Every time we step onto the pitch, all that matters is winning. I like that, it drives me on. On a personal level, I hope to stay free from injuries and to help the team. I’d be pleased with one or two goals, and I’d also like to increase my number of assists.”
Jamal Musiala: “I can only emphasise all that. I think we have the squad and the quality in our team to achieve the highest goals. We shouldn’t stop always wanting to improve. That goes for the whole team and for me – I always want more. More goals, more assists. I want to contribute to us achieving our ambitions together.”
What does friendship mean for you in general?
AD: “For me the most important thing is being there for each other, being able to depend on the other person. The chemistry is right between Jamal and I, on and off the pitch. There’s a deep mutual understanding, and we can have fun together – that’s also important when you spend a lot of time together.”
JM: “You can have a great laugh with Phonzy. I think it’s always fun when he’s around. That’s his nature. It’s also important to me in a friendship that you can talk to each other about everything. With Phonzy it feels like he’s almost family.”
Alphonso: What’s cool about Jamal?
AD (thinks): “Woah, how do I answer that…? He’s his own person, who carries you along when you’re near him. Jamal always radiates good energy.“
Jamal, is there any quality you’d like to have from Alphonso? For example, he’s pretty fast…
JM: “Is that a personal quality? I’d like to go a bit deeper, let me just think… It’s just his openness. Phonzy is always relaxed. I think, because of his unique nature, it’s easy for him to free himself from pressure or negative thoughts. He doesn't let anything get to him that could disturb him. You can always have fun with him, but he also knows when you have to knuckle down. His openness for life – that’s the quality of his that I’d like to have.”
AD: “Okay, I always thought that’s the exact quality I’d like to take from you (laughs). Let me have a think: I guess I’d like to have Jamal’s confidence. Everything he does, he does it with great awareness of doing it well. Whether that’s playing football or just everyday stuff. That’s really impressive, especially at his age. I wasn’t nearly as far along as he is at that age.”
When Jamal missed out on the Kopa Trophy for the best young player last autumn, you wrote on social media that he may have been denied that title, but couldn't be denied winning the Ballon d'Or in the future…
AD: “Yes, that mattered to me because it’s simply my firm belief. I mean, look at this boy! In my eyes, he is already one of the best or maybe even the best player in the world in his age group. With all due respect to the others, he would have deserved the Kopa Trophy. And when I see his incredible talent, his ambition and all his drive, I see him holding the Ballon d'Or one day. If Jamal continues as he has done in the past few months, the sky is the limit for him.”
„Every praise is an incentive and a motivation for me to keep working on myself and improving. No one on this planet has achieved great things just because someone else said nice things about them.”
How do you feel when a teammate says something like that about you?
JM (smiles): “It makes me just want to hug him. It’s obviously nice to hear something like that, but I’m only at the start and can’t rest for one second. Every praise is an incentive and a motivation for me to keep working on myself and improving. No one on this planet has achieved great things just because someone else said nice things about them. When Phonzy said, the sky is the limit, he hit the nail on the head: you shouldn’t set yourself any limits, but believe in yourself and give everything every day to achieve your goals. Then one day you’ll be rewarded.”
You said recently in an interview that you have the ambition of becoming one of the best players in the world. That’s the definition of “Mia san mia”…
JM: “At FC Bayern you’re taught to always believe in yourself and strive for the maximum. I like that identity a lot because that’s also how I think. If you don’t believe that you can be the best, that’s the false approach in my view. Ever since I was little, I’ve always had the aim of taking the next step, and with each step forward your confidence also grows. For my game I have to believe that I can score goals, that I can dribble, that I’m capable of everything. I won’t slack.”
You’re both young, popular figures and well-liked among the fans. What does that mean to you, particularly considering that you’re big role models for children?
AD: “It means a lot to me personally, and I think it’s the same for Jamal. It’s not that long ago that both of us were looking up to others as kids, so we only know too well what a big responsibility we have now. I’d particularly like to convey to young people that you should always be yourself in whatever you do. Enjoy every single moment that you have in life, particularly with your family and friends. And use your opportunities, be it in football or elsewhere. The key thing in my eyes is always that you stay true to yourself, that you enjoy what you do – and that you have fun doing it. I always try to have a smile on my face. That’s how you transmit happiness to others. I’m incredibly grateful for everything that life has given me so far.”
JM: “Enjoying what you do is the basis for being able to do it well. I also find it important to always have your head up: what do you dream of, what are your goals, how can you achieve them? I want to inspire people. They should have fun when they watch us – and the kids in particular should feel that anything is possible when you give your all. If you do that, there are no limits in football nor in life.”
We’ve spoken about FC Bayern’s identity. Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller have shaped the club for a decade, then came Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka – and then you two. Are you the next generation who will live and pass on the “Mia san mia”?
AD: “Being Bayern’s ‘next gen’ is always the aim. We’re still very young, we’re gaining experiences and see it as privilege to be able to learn from Manu, Thomas, Jo, Leon and the others. They too were starting out once and took a lot from Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribéry or Arjen Robben. These players put their boots on every day and go onto the pitch to not even lose a training game. It’s our job to take on that spirit, live it and carry it on.”
JM: “We are the boys who want to reach the top with FC Bayern. I learn from my teammates every day, and in the end it's about winning titles together. At FC Bayern, every generation has its opportunities.”