Victor Moses escapes hardship and scales heights at Chelsea

Chelsea newcomer has come a long way since his tragic childhood in Nigeria

Tonight should be the latest peak in the rise and rise of Victor Moses. A home debut, under lights, in the Champions League, against iconic opposition in Juventus; it is some change from Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace.

But it is a world away from war-torn Nigeria, which Moses had to flee in tragic circumstances at the age of 11.

He has been on a remarkable journey, far beyond what should be asked of a 21-year-old – and one that renders the differences between levels of football utterly irrelevant. Moses had to leave his native country in 2002 after his parents were killed in religious violence, something he is understandably reluctant to talk about.

Growing up with a foster family in south London, Moses came to professional football through an unlikely route: Whitgift School in South Croydon. He was a precocious talent, coached by Colin Pates, the former Chelsea full-back. "The coaches always told me I'm good enough to play for any team in Europe," said Moses.

"They encouraged me a lot. Colin Pates used to tell me about what he used to do at Chelsea back then, how amazing it was. I never knew that one day I was going to be a Chelsea player." But now he is, and is thrilled by the challenge: "I just keep working hard. I work hard and try to get to the top. And seeing myself in the Champions League is amazing."

Moses was always too powerful and too dangerous for the Championship and again for a Wigan team struggling to stay in the top flight. He helped to drag Wigan to safety again last season and then found himself part of Roberto Di Matteo's rebuilding of the Chelsea squad towards youth, pace and style.

He made his Chelsea debut against Queen's Park Rangers last Saturday but Moses revealed just how much European competition factored in his decision to move to Stamford Bridge. "It was so important," he said. "I've never played in the Champions League before in my career. And being at Chelsea, I'm looking forward to our game against Juventus. It will be a good experience."

Moses has memories as strong as anyone of that night in Munich four months ago, when Chelsea became champions of Europe, setting up the campaign which begins tonight. "The final Chelsea played against Bayern Munich, I watched that," said Moses. "It was so good for an English side to bring the trophy back. It was exciting to see Chelsea win the cup."

Chelsea did not make their approach for Moses until after the final and the prospect of playing for the European champions was too attractive to pass up. "Anyone would like to be out there playing the Champions League final and winning the trophy and stuff like that," Moses said. "It's a good moment to be part of it. I'm part of the Chelsea team now I'm delighted I'm a Chelsea player and looking forward to it."

Where better to start? The group stage often throws up non-contests but not tonight, as a side with 28 Italian titles and two European Cups comes to Chelsea. "It will be great playing against a team like Juventus as well," said Moses. "They've got quality players like Andrea Pirlo."

Gigi Buffon will probably be the best goalkeeper Moses has ever faced. "They have done well for their country," Moses said of the veteran pair. "If you look at what they did at the Euros, it is not easy to get to the final. You can tell how good they are."

Victor Moses was speaking at the launch of Battlefield 3 Premium Edition, which is out now in the UK for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf