At just 19 years old and with ‘only’ 20 international caps under his belt, Jamal Musiala was voted Germany player of the year for 2022 by a large margin. The Bayern attacker spoke in an interview for DFB.de about the award, the past World Cup year and the work to be done.
DFB.de: Jamal Musiala, you are Germany player of the year at just 19 years old and after 20 international matches. There has never been a younger winner. What’s your reaction?
Jamal Musiala: It’s a huge honour for me. I’m really happy to have won this award, which I didn’t expect at all. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me. It is also an incentive to keep working hard and improving and hopefully also be successful with the national team. That is my main goal.
DFB.de: Is this award just a consolation after a year in which the World Cup ended far too early for Germany?
Musiala: A personal award is nice, but I would have rather got further with the Germany team in the World Cup.
DFB.de: How do you assess 2022 for the national team as a whole? There wasn’t just the World Cup that took place at the end of the year, for example Germany played against England twice. These are always special matches, also personally for you.
Musiala: I played a lot of minutes last year, a lot in big games as well. I gained a lot of experience and learnt a lot. It was good for my development, and I enjoyed it very much, so I just hope that it carries on like this. Of course we had very different expectations as a team and much higher demands particularly regarding our performance at the World Cup. It was disappointing, since the World Cup is the biggest tournament in football and we worked hard for the whole year to prepare for it. We were knocked out far too early, so I can’t rate 2022 very highly.
DFB.de: Which of your eleven international appearances in 2022 do you look back on most fondly?
Musiala: It was always my dream to play at Wembley, so the away match against England in September in the Nations League was a really special experience for me. It was a very exciting game, and the atmosphere was great. I enjoyed it a lot. Also, even though we didn’t qualify after it, the final group stage match against Costa Rica that we won 4-2 was a good game.
DFB.de: And which game would you like to forget?
Musiala: I try to take the positives even from bad games and defeats and learn from them. For me, there’s no game that I don’t want to think about.
DFB.de: The first international matches of the year are in March. Are you particularly motivated as a team to show everyone that you can do better after the World Cup?
Musiala: I’m really looking forward to starting again in March, because we all want to prove what we’re really capable of and the quality that we actually have in the team. As a team we have to learn from our experiences in the World Cup and come out stronger. An experience like that can bring a team together.
DFB.de: There are no competitive matches this year, for Germany is automatically qualified for the 2024 European Championship as the host. What are your goals for 2023 with the national team, both as a team and personally?
Musiala: We have to learn from every match and prepare ourselves in the best possible way for EURO 2024. For this reason, each individual game that we play and each training session is really important. We will take every match very seriously and use it to grow as a team.
DFB.de: You were just three years old during the last major men’s tournament in Germany, and won’t remember the 2006 World Cup. How much do you still look forward to EURO 2024 and having a tournament at home?
Musiala: Every footballer dreams of playing a tournament in their own country. EURO 2024 is a great chance for all of Germany to be proud of the national team again. We’ll give everything to do that.
DFB.de: Have any of your teammates or your family told you about how they experienced the World Cup back then?
Musiala: I haven’t seen much of the 2006 World Cup, but of course of the tournaments after it and how people got behind and supported the national team. We will give everything so that the atmosphere in the stadiums and cities will be as unique again in 2024.