He seemed destined to become the patron of the Red Devils, but at the age of 27, Charly Musonda Junior had to settle for a role as a substitute at the Cypriot first division club Anorthosis Famagusta, which picked him up on a free transfer in the summer. The former super talent was never able to live up to expectations after a horror injury.
At the age of sixteen, Europe was at the feet of Musonda, who eventually exchanged the youth academy of Anderlecht for that of Chelsea. However, the big breakthrough never came there, although he did play seven more matches in the Blues’ first team. That was in the 2017/18 season, when he was part of the first team under Antonio Conte.
Musonda didn’t get a chance at Chelsea
In an extensive interview with The Athletic, Musonda points to that moment as a turning point. “Eden Hazard started that season injured and Pedro was suspended. We didn’t have many wingers so there were opportunities to play, but I just never got my chance,” he says. “It’s not that I got my chance and didn’t take it. I don’t have that feeling. That’s frustrating.”
In search of playing minutes, Musonda went to Celtic on loan, but that was not a success. He then took his chance at Vitesse, but suffered a knee injury in his first practice match against Antwerp. It was the beginning of an ordeal that lasted no less than three years.
Injury and COVID hampered Musonda’s career
An operation turned out to be risky, so Musonda postponed it, but he still went under the knife when his knee still had not recovered after a year. Doctors told him that there was little chance that he would return and a long rehabilitation followed, but in the summer of 2021 he was completely fit again. Just when he was allowed to prove himself again in the preparation for Chelsea’s first team, he got COVID and his chance was lost.
Nevertheless, Musonda remains positive. “I just want to play football again,” he concludes. “That is where I am now. I want to be able to enjoy it again. They told me that I would never play football again and I know how tough that period was. I am proud of myself for fighting back.”