The world is at his feet. Jude Bellingham is just 20 years old and has already amassed over 180 senior appearances, establishing himself as one of the globe’s most mesmeric and daunting talents. Bellingham’s journey began at his boyhood club Birmingham City, but it was at Borussia Dortmund where his development skyrocketed at an incomprehensible level. A tremendous three seasons with Die Schwarzgelben earned the Englishman an £88.5m move to Real Madrid earlier this summer.
In his short time on the Iberian Penisula, a sense of inevitability has been added to Bellingham’s game. In just six appearances for Los Blancos, he has already netted six goals – the latest a 95th-minute winner against Union Berlin in the opening group game of the UEFA Champions League.
The marauding midfielder wheeled away in ecstatic celebration. The notoriously uncompromising Santiago Bernabeu observed in rapture and disbelief. After an embrace with his thankful teammates, Bellingham rounded off his European homecoming with his trademark celebration – arms outstretched, chest pumped and head high while gently nodding at the adoring crowd, who copied this emblematic symbol from their newest galático.
This action transcends beyond the simple recognition of a late goal by a popular acquisition, it is a ceremonious and collective acceptance of the accession of a generational sensation. Bellingham has quickly married into the unwavering tradition of Madrid’s unabating and predetermined inexorability.
The youngster, who is driven by relentlessly high standards, is a firm believer in his limitless potential. This confidence is synonymous with the brazen arrogance and achievement associated with Spain’s most successful football club. The Stourbridge-born prodigy has swiftly formed a habit as a prolific goal-scorer with well-timed, late runs into the box.
Nevertheless, as noted by Bellingham’s former coach at Birmingham City Mike Dodds, he is a potent combination of a number four, eight, and a ten – a box-to-box machine with endless energy, boundless versatility, and overwhelming quality. His impeccable consistency at Dortmund and Madrid has built a formidable foundation for his international career to flourish.
In England’s recent 3-1 victory over Scotland, Bellingham was at the centre of the most devastating phases of play. On the 150th anniversary of the meeting of these two British nations, he strutted around Hampden Park with unerring control and purpose, scoring the second goal before providing a sumptuous assist for Harry Kane to settle the proceedings.
At the World Cup in Qatar, Bellingham was undoubtedly England’s most influential performer. He displayed maturity way beyond his years as he is a perfectly curated mix of confidence and influence. While a move to Madrid can quell, intimidate, and envelope any footballer, Bellingham is rising above the occasion. Moreover, the inheritance of Zinedine Zidane’s infamous number five jersey could have provided another possible stumbling block, but it has been used to establish a new, glowing level of prominence and superiority.
He lines up with Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, and Eduardo Camavinga in a frighteningly gifted new era of the Madrid midfield. In the last ten years, the club has won five Champions Leagues – much of this was owed to the unassailable dominance and durability of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.
The latter has taken on a new challenge at Manchester United, whilst the others have entered the twilight years of their glittering careers. But, Florentino Perez can rest easy and bask in the glorious promise of his freshly formed central diamond, spearheaded by the Three Lions’ most promising asset.
Bellingham has already placed himself on a different pedestal. He is a player whose reputation is purely based upon tangible evidence. A hypnotic concoction of technique and physicality, everything points towards a player who looks set to enjoy a prolonged period of uninterrupted supremacy.
By: Alex Connor / @alexjconnor
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Alex Grimm – Getty Images