One-time wunderkind Charly Musonda Jr, Belgium’s answer to Messi or Neymar, is once again roaming the green fields of Cobham, back after a multi-year absence due to injury, and ready to resume his once highly promising career. And he knows that he may not have too many more chances to do so, especially not at the top level.
“[The doctors] gave me a 20 percent chance of ever playing at the top level again. They literally said: this is going to be an impossible mountain to climb. [But] I’m on the right track. I do believe I have ten more beautiful years in my legs when I return. I feel like a boxer getting ready for his ultimate fight.”
Three years ago, Musonda, who had had loan spells at Real Betis and Celtic go awry by then, headed to
Chelsea B Vitesse, where he was supposed to get his career back on track. Barely a week after his arrival, he tore a ligament in his knee. Unlike the majority of such cases in modern times, his injury turned into an ordeal, limiting him to just four appearances since, and none since August 2019.
“That rarely happens in football. Normally, players tear the anterior cruciate ligament and are ready to use again six months after surgery. The doctors told me that I would have to rehabilitate for a year.
“[And] it was a struggle. For three years I missed what I love most: playing football. I was in pain and sometimes didn’t sleep, but a comeback is only heroic when no one thinks it possible.”
Musonda has been documenting his recovery on Instagram, and it certainly looks like he has the will, the motivation, and the attitude to turn those hopes and dreams into reality — even if part of that harsh reality is the fact that he will be turning 25 in a few months, and with just a year left on his Chelsea contract, time is not on his side anymore.
That would make his comeback even more heroic.