Chelsea winger Charly Musonda has written an emotional farewell letter to the club after confirming his departure after a decade in west London, vowing to continue playing despite a serious knee injury.
The Belgian, who moved to Stamford Bridge at the age of 15 in 2012, was regarded as one of the most talented players in Chelsea’s academy and was handed his debut as a teenager by Antonio Conte.
But a PCL injury sustained while on loan at Vitesse has kept Musonda on the sidelines since 2018 and, despite still harbouring hope of playing for Chelsea again, the 25-year-old has taken the difficult decision to leave the club when his contract expires.
Writing a message to fans and confirming his exit, Musonda said: ‘It seems like yesterday I was arriving at Cobham, and that Chelsea football club welcomed me and my family to my new home. It has now been 10 years since that day and today, as the season ends, that journey has come to an end.
‘I had the privilege of being part of, and being able to learn in, such an incredible organisation in world football, and in the process had the opportunity of winning all that was possible at youth level within the club and country playing a part of an important chapter at Cobham – and more importantly doing so while growing as a person.
‘From the ages of 15 until 21, I worked extremely hard to make my professional debut at Chelsea, at a time in which it was extremely difficult to do so, and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to have been able to play at the Bridge wearing the blue shirt, which is never a given or should never be taken for granted, particularly from where I come from.’
He continued: ‘In all honestly, I would be lying if I said that I thought I would be leaving this way and even more so if I thought that I would go four years without playing football after my knee injury.
‘The people who know me, know how much football has meant to me since I started playing from the age of five and for me not to be able to play for four years has been heartbreaking. There is no other way to put it, it’s been soul wrenching.
‘Particularly because football is the only thing that I perhaps love more or as much as my family, or because I worked so hard the first six years at the club for one goal which was always to play for Chelsea. Never wanting or demanding to leave, partly because I really believed I could and would [play for Chelsea again] until the last day.’
Musonda added: ‘I fell in love with the club and the fans; people always say Chelsea fans don’t make noise in the stadium but I can assure you, the fans are amongst the best in the world and they have been unbelievable with me always – which is rare for a player who hasn’t even started more than once.
‘I want to thank Adi Viveash, the late Dermot Drummy and Joe Edwards for developing me. I want to thank Antonio Conte for giving me an opportunity to fulfil a dream. I want to thank all my teammates I had along the way at youth level and in the first team, all of those who reached out when I was injured too. Sport is all about camaraderie and pushing ourselves to better one another, we can’t achieve anything without our teammates and opponents.
‘I am extremely proud of all the boys I grew up with that are playing and representing the academy for Chelsea: Andreas, Rueb, Reece, Mase, Trevor. And across England and Europe at several levels: Tammy, Jeremie, Ake, Ola, Fikayo, Dion Conroy, Houghton, Swifty, Baker, Marc Guehi, T Lamptey, Billy, Jay Da Silva, Mukhtar, Wright and many more.’
On his future, Musonda continued: ‘What the future in football holds or where is still unknown, but what I do know is that while being injured I discovered my mental strength is my fortitude, not talent. Another thing that’s for certain is I will be back playing next season.’
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