Zecira Musovic exclusive: Chelsea are spoilt for goalkeeping talent – but I want to be No 1 | Football News

There were plenty of takeaways from this summer’s Women’s World Cup, most positive, some less so. But for the purpose of Sky Sports’ exclusive chat with Chelsea goalkeeper Zecira Musovic, we’re focusing on the former.

“We’re getting to the point where the goalkeeper role is cool,” she says, easing into a reflective conversation about a tournament that put female goalkeeping on the map. Made it fashionable, even.

The order of international football changed irreversibly across the months of July and August in the southern hemisphere. So-called smaller nations shone, underdogs thrived, and new names were added to the global hall of fame. New positions too.

Goalkeepers are rarely the ones to hog headlines, but competing for Sweden against the USA in early August, it was Musovic’s name being heralded. The heavyweight clash of titans was owned by Musovic, who now holds the record for most saves (11) by a goalkeeper who kept a clean sheet in a World Cup finals match.

WSL Chelsea Special

Saturday 30th September 7:30pm

Sweden beat co-hosts Australia to finish third at the World Cup
Zecira Musovic broke a goalkeeping record at the World Cup

It was perhaps the most influential individual display of any player, in any game, at the entire tournament, although this journalist also reserves special affection for Aitana Bonmati’s masterclass in the showpiece final, even if it was to the detriment of the Lionesses’ bid for ultimate glory.

“There are loads of good female goalkeepers around the world,” bronze-medal winner Musovic continued. “What I’m proud of is we’re now getting recognised, and that requires goalkeepers to perform.

“I’m not surprised about what I can do, but I don’t want to talk about how good I am, I want to show it in action. The World Cup was a good window to show that I’ve improved and I’m curious to see where that lands.”

Sophia Smith is denied by goalkeeper Zecira Musovic
Zecira Musovic was a standout performer as Sweden came third at this summer’s World Cup

Fridolina Rolf congratulates Zecira Musovic after Sweden beat the USA on penalties
Fridolina Rolf congratulates Zecira Musovic after Sweden beat the USA on penalties

Domestically, the fight for the No 1 shirt at Chelsea is fiercer than ever. The 27-year-old, who admits that the limbo land of a goalkeeper is sometimes “weird” and “scary”, is very assertive and eloquent with each answer she gives. There’s no bravado or front, the conversation flows with ease, as she begins explaining her hopes for the upcoming season.

“In the goalkeeper union, we’re a team within the team. I love the competition created, you can always learn something from everyone you meet, and I can definitely say that of my goalkeeper colleagues.

“Maybe from the outside there is a No 1, but internally it’s like every session is a new opportunity to show what you’ve got. I work so hard on my process; it’s been extremely clear since the moment I arrived at Chelsea.

“It’s only one spot, if you don’t make that spot, you’re either on the bench or even in the stands. It’s extreme. But I love these extreme parts – if it’s not a competition or a challenge it’s boring.”

The psychology of a goalkeeper is fascinating and unique, or “extreme”, as Musovic terms it. The WSL champions have three first-team stoppers, all with a legitimate claim to the No 1 shirt. Both Ann-Katrin Berger and Hannah Hampton (signed in the summer from Aston Villa) will naturally have the same ambition as Musovic to come out on top, so what’s the culture of competition like at Chelsea?

Zecira Musovic is relishing the battle with Chelsea's goalkeeping contingent for the No 1 spot
Zecira Musovic is relishing the battle with Chelsea’s goalkeeping contingent for the No 1 spot

“I love the environment at Chelsea,” she continues. “I love the coaching staff and the players, and working with them all. I’m excited and curious to see what we can achieve this season.

“I have great communication with Emma [Hayes] and Stuart [Searle], they push me, and I push them back. It’s not just about playing time, it’s about improving every aspect of my game. Challenging each other is the environment we create here.

“I don’t believe in just being nice all the time, because that’s not the way you improve. I want total honestly when I’m doing well, and when I’m not doing well.”

Musovic arrives on the eve of the new WSL season in better shape, and in higher spirits, than ever before. It’s a certainty she’s always had, but one that’s been ignited and strengthened by a standout World Cup, where she gave as much to Sweden as Golden Glove winner Mary Earps gave to England. Earps fans, of which there are many, have long championed the celebrity, but it’s a feeling that is newer to Musovic.

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Contemplating the special summer that may yet influence her club standing this term, she said: “I felt in a really good head space, in a flow. I also felt extremely thankful because I was put in situations I knew I could handle. I felt confident, and had a good feeling I could help my team in a positive way.

“I’m a person who takes responsibility for the people around me, I love when people feel secure and are welcomed, like feeling part of something. That’s when I feel like I’ve succeeded.

“I wouldn’t describe myself as a goalkeeper who throws myself around, doing crazy stuff, I much prefer the part about being the last line of defence and owning the responsibility.”

Zecira Musovic looks full focussed ahead of facing Spain in the Women's World Cup semi-finals
Zecira Musovic looks fully focussed ahead of facing Spain in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals

Musovic’s maturity shines through during the 15-minute chat, which took place at Stamford Bridge, where she also touches on her pride at how the football world “came together for one common cause” over the summer, as Spain’s on-field achievements were overshadowed by the off-field behaviours of individuals within the Spanish Federation – individuals that have since been removed from their positions.

Her take is profound: “Everyone had each other’s back and that transcends nationalities. It’s about common values that we all share, that’s a cool culture in the women’s game – we back each other. It’s a healthy community.

The Spanish and the Swedish team pose with a banner reading "#it's over, our fight is the global fight" ahead the UEFA women's Nation League football match Sweden vs Spain in Gothenburg, on September 22, 2023. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)
The Spanish and the Swedish teams pose with a banner reading “#it’s over, our fight is the global fight”

“I would describe myself as a person who isn’t scared to say what they think. I think we all have different opinions, and those should be respected. If you’ve got something to say, speak up. We say ‘no’ when it’s not good enough. We can put demands on the people around us and that’s a good place to be. We have to keep pushing with that.

“It would be a big mistake to be quiet and not stand for our point, we should all be allowed a space to do that.”

Between Musovic’s captivating conversation and serious discussion is a softer side, one that enjoys making light of life’s curiosities.

Her X bio reads “hobby GK for @chelseafcw” with a whimsical cartoon image of herself in an apron, washing dishes, to mimic the stereotypical role of women, and how female athletes are continually tasked with breaking moulds.

When it comes to her profession, though, her focus is razor-sharp, and it’s that mentality that is driving her pursuit of Chelsea’s No 1 spot.

She finished by saying: “As a group we want to go even further. We want to win everything. That’s an unwritten rule at Chelsea FC.”

Watch Chelsea vs Tottenham on WSL opening weekend, live on Sky Sports Football on Sunday October 1; kick-off 5.30pm

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