Name: Ahmed Musa
Club: CSKA Moscow
One of those players who’s arguably better known in the gaming world than the real world, it probably speaks more for the accuracy that developers strive for in producing their games as much as anything. Almost legendary for the FIFA 13 players who put their Career Mode over everything else in their life, Ahmed Musa had the qualities that fitted perfectly into the gameplay, as you once again nipped past the full back with this Nigerian talent. Now receiving more and more credit in the real world of football, gamers will have to look a bit deeper when unearthing their next gem.
Picked up by Dutch side VVV Venlo after an incredible return of 18 goals in 25 games whilst at Kano Pillars in Nigeria at only 18, Musa helped the lower-half Dutch side maintain their status in the Eredvisie in his first season, as he plyed his trade out on the wing to good effect, scoring 5 goals. Despite alleged interest from Spurs and Ajax, and a rejected €10 million bid from an undisclosed Bundesliga club, Musa moved to his current club CSKA Moscow, as he joined a number of his fellow countryman in the Russian league. Now occupying a more central role than during his time in Holland, he has returned to the sort of scoring record that earned him a move to Europe, averaging almost a goal every two games last season, and despite a drought lasting between August and December in all competitions for CSKA, his form from the previous season earned him a place in the top 10 shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year awards – eventually won by Yaya Toure.
A small, skinny and agile, he is the sort of player that thrives in the modern game. Where once he would have possibly been dismissed for being too small, he is able to use his incredible pace to great effect – both with the ball and without. Whether it be gassing past the full back and getting to the byline or sprinting through the middle to get on the end of a cross, he is blessed with natural characteristics and many footballers dream of. He hasn’t yet harnessed the Zen-like feeling in front of goal of a man like Theirry Henry or Aristide Bance, he could probably benefit from an Arsene Wenger style period on the wing to do his time, allowing him to develop that composure and coolness in front of goal to blow the rest off the scoring charts Still very raw, however, Musa lacks the consistency game-to-game that seperate him from other strikers around him, and despite getting an extended run in the team with Seydou Doumbia’s injury, his relatively poor goal return means that he is not the sort of player that top sides can rely on for goals just yet.
One of the many graduates from the U-20 team, Musa has already won 35 caps at the age of 21 for his country, including being part of the victorious squad at the African Cup of Nations in 2013. Joining the ranks of what is turning out to be a formidable squad, he will be looking to nail down his place in time for the World Cup next summer. Likely to be deployed on the wing what with Emmanuel Emenike being a more natural central figure up front, the prospect of a front three of Victor Moses, Musa and Emenike certainly will pose problems when it comes to trying to get out of the group stage.
A player with a wonder of possibilities ahead of him, a bit of guaranteed game time is needed for Musa, and as the back-up to the rather injury-prone Doumbia at CSKA, he won’t be short of time to prove himself at the top level before Brazil comes around, where he will hopefully announce himself to the world.
Words by Sam Crocker (@sam_crock)