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Football Features

Jamal Musiala: How Germany’s ‘future Messi’ can take Euro 2024 by storm

By Will Evans

Published: 16:30, 10 June 2024

Jamal Musiala has endured an injury-hit season with Bayern Munich, so he’ll be making up for lost time at Euro 2024.

The attacking midfielder was limited to just 20 Bundesliga starts in 2023/24, but made every minute count — chipping in with an 10 league goals and five assists.

Now he’ll be looking to make a similar impact for Germany, as they go in search of European Championship glory on home soil at Euro 2024.

Star qualities

Plays like: Lionel Messi

Germany captain Lothar Matthaus was effusive in his praise of Musiala during the 2022 World Cup.

“He [Musiala] can be the (Lionel) Messi of the future, he is excellent,” he said. “He is 19 years old, he is doing the things that will make him a top footballer. He has great passing, he is clever with his thinking and he loves football.”

Now 21, Musiala is certainly living up to the hype — registering 43 goals and 31 assists across 163 matches for Bayern Munich, having become the youngest player to reach a century of appearances for Die Roten.

Capable of playing on either flank or in a more central role, the Stuttgart native’s sublime dribbling skills have terrorised Bundesliga backlines since his debut in 2020.

Musiala has remarkable close control, creating carnage in opposition rearguards as he draws in defenders before evading them in tight spaces. That was perfectly illustrated by the second of his two goals in March’s 5-2 victory over Darmstadt, when he skilfully glided past a host of players before slotting the ball neatly into the bottom right corner.

And Bayern’s No.42 is capable of powerful efforts, too, like his lashed near-post drive against Bochum in February.

With a combination of first-class finishing ability, creativity, quick feet and pace, Musiala has all the attributes to provide a major attacking threat at Euro 2024.

International pedigree

Musiala has already made a significant impact at international level. He registered an assist in his first start for Germany back in 2021, before opening his account against North Macedonia aged just 18 years and 227 days.

That immediate impression saw the attacking midfielder called up to feature at Euro 2020, where he became the youngest player to appear at a major tournament for Die Mannschaft. Three consecutive starts at Qatar 2022 then solidified Musiala’s status as a mainstay in the national team, despite Germany’s disastrous group stage exit.

Recent friendlies have also highlighted the Bayern star’s continued importance to Julian Nagelsmann’s outfit. He scored the second international goal of his career in a 3-1 victory over the USA last year, before producing assists against both France and the Netherlands in the March international break.

And Musiala has typically been an influential figure in Germany’s friendly matches since 2023, despite missing a number of games with injury issues. He averaged a notably high 2.93 completed take-ons per 90 minutes during that period, while attempting a commendable 23.17 passes into the final third and 1.07 through-balls per 90.

The challenge now will be to improve his goal tally on the international stage, having only found the net twice despite earning 29 caps to date.

Group A fixtures against Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland should offer ample opportunity for Musiala to add to that total at Euro 2024.

Club season snapshot

Despite being restricted to 1,766 minutes of Bundesliga action, only Harry Kane (36) scored more league goals for Bayern Munich than Musiala in 2023/24 (10). That total averages out at an impressive 0.51 goals per 90, alongside a similarly commendable assist rate of 0.31 per 90.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, FCB’s speed merchant topped the charts for take-ons attempted (7.44) and completed (4.43) per match, as well as displaying plenty of end product throughout the campaign. Only three Bundesliga players completed more through-balls per 90 (0.36), while Musiala ranked inside the division’s top 10 for big chances created (0.61) per game.

He has also been effective out of possession, winning possession 1.17 times per 90 in the final third — the fifth-most in Germany’s top flight.

Although the prodigious youngster did not make quite the same impact in the Champions League this term, he still scored twice and assisted one goal in 11 European outings. Those contributions included an individual effort against FC Copenhagen in the group stage, when Musiala’s determined solo run and finish opened the scoring for Die Roten in a 2-1 comeback victory. His performances helped Bayern reach the competition’s semi-finals, before narrowly losing 4-3 on aggregate to Real Madrid.

That defeat wrapped up a trophyless season for Musiala, who failed to add to his four Bundesliga titles and collection of cup honours.

He will be eager to make amends by winning the European Championships with Germany this summer.