Early Days Of Jude
The English media and English football fans have a habit of hyping up their players beyond their credentials. We all remember the “golden generation” of 2006 that won no trophies. However, since Steven Gerrard, Jude Bellingham is the most precociously gifted midfielder that has emerged through the English game and is now on the verge of signing for Real Madrid.
The youngster’s skill was evident early on when he was playing for Birmingham City’s U-23 team when he was just 15 years old.
Then, less than two months after his 16th birthday, he played in the first team. He quickly started to tally up goals and assists, becoming Birmingham City’s youngest-ever goalscorer, clearly showing he was already above that level.
Bellingham’s poise, creativity, and maturity in the centre of the pitch were that of a player twice his age. Although they gave such a young player free rein within the main team, it was a gamble that paid dividends for Birmingham City.
His presence in the centre of the pitch commanded respect, and he ran games single-handedly, dictating the game’s tempo like a world-class poker croupier might do in a casino; it was a sight to behold.
And as the pro poker player would shine in the game no matter if they play a usual poker or the one with various Omaha Poker rules, same did Bellingham, showing grace, determination, and ability to perform on the biggest stage.
When Birmingham City decided to retire the number 22 shirt, it was met with bemusement and ridicule throughout the footballing world.
Everybody knew the presence of Jude Bellingham, but he was still unproven. Imagine Crystal Palace had retired the shirt of John Bostock.
Although initially, this move seemed premature, the blue side of Birmingham has been vindicated following his magnificent World Cup performances and his touted big-money move to the biggest club in Europe, but is it the right move for him at this point in his career?
With more European Cups than any other club and the world’s most outstanding manager in the dugout, Real Madrid seems like a no-brainer for somebody like Bellingham.
However, when you dig into their current midfield setup, it is a move that makes even more sense. Although Jude has been strongly linked with Liverpool, the possibility of learning his trade from Luka Modric is probably a more attractive proposition than playing with Jordan Henderson – no offence Jordan.
We don’t say that to demean Henderson; he is a proven winner with FA Cups, Champions League, and Premier League winners medals.
However, he’s not the same type of midfielder Bellingham is, and Modric is the best of his generation. If Liverpool or even Manchester City landed Bellingham’s signature, it would likely go down as one of the greatest transfers in Premier League history.
In addition, the climate in Madrid is probably another key factor that has determined the thought process behind his decision to move.
Although nothing has been formally announced, several news outlets report that Jude Bellingham is set to move to Real Madrid, and a deal will be announced imminently.
Bellingham – The Brand
Global superstar footballers must turn their image into a worldwide brand to become crossover icons. This is the same in any sport; it doesn’t matter how much talent you have.
However, there needs to be an additional magic factor that pushes the brand into unchartered territory. David Beckham is an example of an Englishman who moved to Madrid and used it to springboard his image into global, international recognition.
You could already make a strong argument that Jude is better and shows more promise than David Beckham, who was a great player in his own right. However, Beckham got the brand so on point that he has built an image worth hundreds of millions.
This might not be the goal for Jude; if you look at some of his interviews, he seems like a very grounded and intelligent young man.
Football is his primary focus, as it should be, and it doesn’t appear that he is interested in monetizing his image. However, if it is something he wants to do within the next few years, then Real Madrid is the best club for him.
Although Bellingham is only 19, he has lived in Germany and adapted well to a new culture and language. However, the fear for many English players is that they struggle to adapt to a culture and fail to embrace a new language.
The fact that Jude has already done this and has settled so well into a solid Borussia Dortmund setup shows that he should be able to hit the ground running at Madrid.
Playing alongside Luka Modric for a season or two and under the tutelage of Ancelotti, Real Madrid could be harnessing the birth of football’s next megastar in Jude Bellingham. And the more you think about him at Real Madrid, the more it makes sense.
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