Bayern Munich’s 17-year-old midfielder Jamal Musiala, who played for England’s youth teams, has chosen to represent Germany at international level.
Sky Sports News reported earlier in February that the young Bayern star would be called up by Germany’s senior squad and England’s U21s ahead of the next international break scheduled for the end of March.
Musiala, born in Stuttgart to a German mother and British-Nigerian father, has represented England at youth team level on 22 occasions and took part in the last two training camps with Aidy Boothroyd’s U21 side.
However, despite admitting to being torn between the two countries, the 17-year-old confirmed that he wishes to represent the country of his birth.
“I’ve thought about this question a lot,” he told The Athletic. “What is best for my future? Where do I have more chances to play?
“In the end, I just listened to the feeling that over a long period of time kept telling me that it was the right decision to play for Germany, the land I was born in.
“Still, it wasn’t an easy decision for me. England is home for me. It is difficult to find words for what England means for me because I have so many memories connected to very positive emotions.
“I have a heart for Germany and a heart for England. Both hearts will keep on beating.”
Musiala has played for England’s U15s, U16s, U17s and U21s but also played football for Germany’s U17s. He captained England’s U17s side in a friendly against their German counterparts in 2019.
England manager Gareth Southgate had made it clear to the teenager he wanted him to remain in the England fold, but recommended he stayed with the U21s due to a lack of opportunities to play ahead of the Euros in the summer.
In the meantime, Germany boss Joachim Low publicly stated his intention to call Musiala up to his senior squad in January, saying the “ball is in his court”.
Low is rebuilding his Germany team still reeling from World Cup disaster in 2018, and axed stalwarts such as Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng in favour of up-and-coming young stars.
Musiala is expected to sign his first professional contract with Bayern on his 18th birthday on Friday.
The young attacking midfielder produced a stellar performance in Bayern’s triumph over Lazio in the Champions League round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday.
He scored Bayern’s second goal in their 4-1 win, becoming the club’s youngest-ever scorer in the competition, having achieved the same feat for the club in the Bundesliga during their 8-0 win over Schalke in September.
Who is Musiala?
Born in Stuttgart in 2003 to a British-Nigerian father and German mother, Musiala lived in Germany until he was seven before moving to England.
The attacking wide player began his playing career on Chelsea’s books having moved to Stamford Bridge in 2011 following a brief spell with Southampton.
He was enlisted at the Whitgift School in Croydon, where Callum Hudson-Odoi, Victor Moses and Bertrand Traore all spent their formative years of education.
But Musiala left the club’s academy in July 2019 and was snapped up by Bayern and has continued his development with the Bundesliga club’s junior teams.
A record-breaking year
Such was the impression he made, Musiala was fast-tracked from Miroslav Klose’s Under-17s side to the first-team squad.
He became the youngest player to appear in the Bundesliga for the club when he made his debut against Freiburg in June, aged just 17 years and 115 days.
Records have continued to tumble.
Back in September, aged 17 years and 205 days, Musiala became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer during Bayern’s 8-0 win over Schalke, eclipsing a 21-year record set by Roque Santa Cruz.
On Tuesday, Musiala struck his first Champions League goal in only his fourth appearance in the competition making him the second-youngest player to score in the knockout stages, behind Bojan (17 years, 217 days) for Barcelona against Schalke in the quarter-finals in 2007/08.
What his manager has said
Having become the youngest English scorer in the Champions League, Bayern manager Hans-Dieter Flick praised the 17-year-old for his “great eye and feeling for choosing the right spaces”.
“We are happy that Jamal made a great performance and so did the whole team,” Flick said. “Of course, his goal made him stand out. He is very confident on the ball and can play well between the lines.
“He has a great eye and feeling for choosing the right spaces. So, he did his job well, just like everyone else. We’re always happy about a goal and we are very satisfied.
“It was decisive to have someone like him, as we need possession and we wanted to outnumber the opponent in the different zones between the lines and the half spaces. He did that very well.”
Could he move to the Premier League?
It is unlikely that Musiala will grace the Premier League any time soon, with the player expected to sign a new long-term contract with Bayern on his 18th birthday in two days’ time.
His three goals in 16 league appearances predominantly as a substitute this season under Flick points to a pathway that is unimpeded by the presence of more established names, and his progress is only likely to lead to further cases of young English players taking the same route.
The Guardian reported last week that the former Chelsea starlet is on the verge of ending any uncertainty about his future. The report claimed that Musiala will sign an incentivised contract running until summer 2026.
His commitment to the Allianz Arena on a bumper new £100,000-a-week five-year deal will end speculation regarding his club future having reportedly caught the attention of Liverpool and Manchester United.
Did Brexit play role in Musiala future?
Sky Germany reporter Uli Koehler:
“As he said, it’s a decision made by the stomach. I’m sure Gareth Southgate was fighting for him, but Joachim Low was doing the same. He is basically German. When he was seven, he came to Southampton and then a year later he went to Chelsea.
“He has a lot of friends from the youth team there so it was hard for him to make this decision but in 2019, his mother decided for personal reasons to go back to Germany and Brexit could’ve affected this decision.
“Bayern gave the best offer and now he’s here. I’m pretty sure the Bayern players who play for the national team put a little bit more pressure on him [to choose Germany] on Tuesday after he scored his goal!
“He’s already training with the big guys here at Bayern, so maybe this also affected his decision.”
There is no doubting that the Bundesliga title race appears much more open than it has been in recent years, that included Bayern Munich running away with the title last season, to win by 13 points from Dortmund. The current campaign appears to be a little different but there is still lots of support coming in for the champions here, with the site offering lists of promotions and bonuses to get involved on.
Following the opening 22 matches played, Bayern Munich are still sitting top of the Bundesliga table, having picked up 49 points from their 22 matches played. This includes 15 wins, four draws and three defeats. It means they are only two points clear of RB Leipzig, with a further five points back to both Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt. The latter was the side that recently welcomed Bayern Munich to the Commerzbank-Arena and produced an impressive performance to win 2-1. This saw both Kamada and Younes score early goals to put the home side 2-0 up after just 31 minutes. The champions did fight back with Lewandowski scoring in the 53rd minute but that proved to be the last of the goals and it was an important result in the picture of the title race. It was also the second Bundesliga match in succession that Bayern dropped points, following their surprise 3-3 draw at home to Arminia. On top of this, it also meant that the champions have conceded five goals in their last two matches, which could be something to worry about for their fans.
Following these two results, we have seen the side drifting in the market a little and support coming in for a number of other sides. The most popular being RB Leipzig, who are now just two points behind. The side have also continued their strong domestic form, despite the 2-0 defeat mid-week in the Champions league to Liverpool. If they can continue this strong domestic form and Bayern Munich continue to stutter, then it sets up for a fascinating finish to the current campaign. Both Wolfsburg and Frankfurt also remain threats for the title to Bayern. However, Bayern will be expected to maintain their position at the top and win their record breaking 31st Bundesliga title and ninth in succession.
Atletico Madrid’s recent wobble in form continued as they fell to a first defeat in 12 league games after losing 2-0 at home to Levante.
The La Liga leaders have taken only five points from four games in February and Real Madrid will close the gap at the top to just three points if they beat Real Valladolid later on Saturday.
Jose Luis Morales gave the visitors the lead on the half-hour mark with a deflected strike from just inside the area to deceive ‘keeper Jan Oblak.
Jorge de Frutos knocked into an empty net to score the second in added time after Oblak had ventured forward for a corner.
Atletico came out fighting in the second half as they sought to avoid a first league defeat since December but Levante goalkeeper Daniel Cardenas made a total of 10 saves including an outstanding late stop to deny substitute Thomas Lemar.
Luis Suarez hit the post with a vicious free-kick, Angel Correa saw a goal ruled out for a foul by Suarez and Joao Felix missed two gilt-edged chances for an Atletico side that had 28 shots on goal.
Real Madrid can move within three points of Diego Simeone’s side – though will have played a game more – while Barcelona will move six points behind Atletico if they beat Cadiz on Sunday.
In La Liga’s early game, Elche gave their survival hopes a shot in the arm with a 1-0 win over Eibar. Dani Calvo’s 33rd-minute goal settled a game that saw the winners move level on points down at the bottom with their opponents.
Bundesliga: Bayern beaten
Amin Younes scored a superb goal and helped create another as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich 2-1 on Saturday to stay on course for a Champions League spot.
Former Germany international Younes, on loan from Napoli, helped set up Daichi Kamada for the first goal after 12 minutes as Frankfurt stretched their unbeaten run to 11 league games.
With Germany coach Joachim Low watching in the stands ahead of international matches in March, Younes, who won the last of five Germany caps in 2017, thundered in a shot from the edge of the box in the 31st minute after taking on the entire Bayern defence.
Bayern, who were missing several players, including Thomas Muller and Benjamin Pavard, remain on 49 points, with second-placed RB Leipzig – who have 44 – in action at Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Fourth-placed Frankfurt are level on 42 points with VfL Wolfsburg, who are third and won 3-0 at Arminia Bielefeld on Friday.
Elsewhere, Borussia Monchengladbach’s European aspirations suffered a big blow with a 2-1 loss at Mainz 05 after Kevin Stoeger’s 86th-minute winner saw them drop to eighth place on 33.