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Chelsea winger Charly Musonda was once rated as the next big thing in football and the Blues had to go out of their way to beat Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City to sign the youngster.
At 23 years of age, one would have expected that by now Musonda would have broken through at Chelsea and would have been one of the stars of the team. The Belgian was so rated by the club that he was rewarded with a lucrative contract in 2017.
However, injury and a lack of form has seen the young Belgian’s stock depreciate. An initial loan spell with Real Betis turned bad when Gus Poyet took over, and Musonda’s struggles began. His loan spell with Betis was then terminated and the 23-year-old made just three competitive starts for Brendan Rodgers’ side after he joined Celtic on loan.
Currently, after another battle with injury, he is the middle of his second loan spell at Vitesse, but he has been restricted to just four Eredivisie appearances for the Dutch side – all as a substitute.
What really has gone wrong with Musonda?
Yannick Ferrera who worked with Musonda at under-age level at Anderlecht believes that the 23-year-old will still make it to the top. Ferrera had also mentored the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi and Adnan Januzaj, but he remains adamant that Musonda is the best of the lot.
“When we played in European tournaments and stuff everyone was crazy about him,” Ferrera told Goal. “He almost won the best player trophy at every tournament that he went to. The whole of Europe knew him already.
“A lot of teams wanted him and kept speaking to his family to sign him. We couldn’t hide him. He was too good to hide. He has always been my favourite. He was the player I liked the most and the most talented I have ever coached.
“Honestly, when I saw him when he was 10 or 11 years old, I thought, ‘This is a player who will be among the top five in the world. He is going to be like Iniesta or something’. I rated him that highly and I never thought that about anyone else I trained.
“First of all, he was really gifted technically. The most impressive thing with him was his vision and maturity. At 10 years old, he played like a 30-year-old guy who was already a professional. He had calm, experience and leadership that you just don’t see in a kid.
“I have never seen this ever since. At some point, he made a choice with his family to move to Chelsea. After that, he did well at Betis. Then, he went to Vitesse and Celtic and he has been injured. He is injured again now.
“But I keep believing in him. I still believe he can be one of the game’s biggest players. Just because he is 23, it isn’t too late. His talent is still there. His vision is still there. He needs some luck with injuries, the right team and coach.
“He needs one or two years of football. Then people will see that he was not only a rising star that never made it. I am sure he will still make it. I believe that.”