Connect with us


Bellingham has become a driving force for Real Madrid.

Manchester City thumped Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-finals. Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s team claimed a 5-1 aggregate win over the Spanish giants on their way to being crowned European champions for the first time. Real Madrid, however, didn’t have Jude Bellingham the last time they faced City.

Bellingham has made a profound impact at the Santiago Bernabeu since joining Los Blancos from Borussia Dortmund last summer. The Englishman has scored 20 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this season and has filled the void left by Karim Benzema who left the Spanish capital for Saudi Arabia.

Nobody should need convincing of Bellingham’s talent, but the Champions League tie against Manchester City presents him with an opportunity to prove himself as the best player in the world. This is the sort of stage players of his ability are made for. Tuesday’s first leg could be a defining moment in Bellingham’s career.

Theoretically, Real Madrid’s set-up could make them an extremely difficult opponent for City. Pep Guardiola’s team have conceded more fast break goals this season than in any other season under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager and this is an area Bellingham and co. could exploit.

City could find themselves badly exposed if Kyle Walker misses out on Tuesday night, with the full back an injury concern. Walker has the pace to keep up with Vinicius. Without the 33-year-old on the pitch, Manchester City won’t have a safety net behind their defensive line which tends to sit high up the pitch.

Carlo Ancelotti remoulded his team following the arrival of Bellingham – and loss of Benzema – deploying Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo as split forwards with the England international in behind the duo. This shape has worked well with Bellingham given the freedom to get forward and make late runs into the opposition penalty box. He makes countless entries into the final third.

Signed originally as a central midfielder, Bellingham’s attacking instincts have been harnessed as a Real Madrid player. At times, he has been deployed as an auxiliary centre forward. Instead, Eduardo Camavinga, Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde have been favoured as the midfield unit with Luka Modric frequently an important figure off the bench and in rotation.

The goals scored by Bellingham this season only tell one part of the story this season. The 20-year-old quickly became a leader at the Santiago Bernabeu. He is one of the most vocal players in the Real Madrid dressing room and has become a driving force for Ancelotti’s team in a very short space of time.

“[Bellingham] is doing very well,” said Ancelotti after an impressive start by Bellingham at Real Madrid following his summer transfer from the Bundesliga. “He’s done well in the first half of the season. Bearing in mind that he’s had to adapt to our club, to a new culture and language, he’s done very well. For us, obviously he’s the best.”

Next season, Bellingham will have to share the Santiago Bernabeu spotlight if Kylian Mbappe finally makes the long-awaited switch to Real Madrid from Paris Saint-Germain this summer. Mbappe is up there as one of the best players in the world, but for the time being Bellingham is the main man in all-white.

Erling Haaland is another player in the bracket of being the best in the world right now, but the Norwegian has found the back of the net just once in his last four outings for Manchester City. Against his former Dortmund teammate – and last season’s Treble winners – the stage could be Bellingham’s to dominate.

Recent Posts