After finishing coolly beyond the helpless Sergio Romero, Nigeria were level once again against Argentina – and interest in Ahmed Musa‘s career went through the roof.
This Group F encounter proved to be one of the more enthralling games of the 2014 World Cup. Lionel Messi scored twice to steal the headlines. But there was another man who got a brace that day and, with it, a lot of attention.
Both of Musa’s goals came shortly after Argentina’s talisman had given them a slender lead. Twice Messi found the back of Vincent Enyeama’s net. Twice more the man wearing the number seven for Nigeria clawed his country back into the tie.
The Super Eagles would lose the game. Marcos Rojo‘s 50th-minute touch to steer Ezequiel Garay‘s header into the net proved to be the match-winning moment. But Musa had announced himself on the biggest stage of all.
Musa: From World Cup Stardom to West Brom Rejection
It’s curious how even just one eye-catching performance in the World Cup can change your entire career trajectory. Just ask James Rodriguez, whose stellar showings in that same tournament led to a mega-money move to Real Madrid.
But despite a lot of speculation, Musa stayed loyal to employers CSKA Moscow. He was well rewarded, as the following summer he was handed a new four-year deal which boosted his earnings – and the amount the Russian side could demand for their prized asset.
To this point, Ahmed Musa’s career had taken him to Nigeria to Russia via a spell in the Netherlands with VVV Venlo, but he was yet to test his ability in one of Europe’s so-called top five leagues. That all changed in July 2016, when Leicester City came calling.
The Foxes were the Premier Lague champions and prepared for a European campaign by signing the Nigerian for £16.6 million. It was a new club record, heaping extra pressure on their new star striker to perform.
This was his big break, but ultimately Musa was a box office flop in the Midlands. Goals in back-to-back games against Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur were promising, but they proved to be his only Premier League strikes in two years with Leicester.
He appeared in just one matchday squad in the first half of the 2017/18 season – he was an unused substitute in a loss away at Liverpool. After rotting in the reserves for so long, Musa, now aged 25, was handed a lifeline with a return to CSKA on loan.
The forward left Leicester permanently at the end of that season, joining Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia. There he stayed until October 2020, when he departed as a free agent.
West Brom Rejection Sees Ahmed Musa’s Career Stall Further
Now aged 28, Musa is without a club and his career is in danger of ending prematurely after such a bright start.
He was training with West Bromwich Albion at the beginning of February. But the Express and Star has now reported the Baggies will not offer him a deal.
Last November he was linked with another English side, Championship relegation-battlers Sheffield Wednesday. However, Musa himself told the BBC this was not in his career plans.
“With due respect to the club, I left Saudi Arabia to continue my career at the top level in Europe and that’s the ambition,” he was quoted as saying.
Ambition is great, but to play at the top you need to take your chances when you get there. This is not something he has done in the past, and he may not get another opportunity.
After standing toe to toe with Lionel Messi as a fearless youngster, Ahmed Musa’s career has fizzled out in a way no-one could have predicted.
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