Jude Bellingham caps off superb debut season at Real Madrid with LaLiga title


Jude Bellingham caps off superb debut season at Real Madrid with LaLiga title

Bellingham has had a supreme debut season
Bellingham has had a supreme debut seasonReuters
Jude Bellingham (20) has taken Real Madrid by storm in a sparkling debut LaLiga campaign, exceeding sky-high expectations to help his team claim a record-extending 36th Spanish league title.

"It's Bellingham's league" has become a common phrase among football fans and pundits in Spain and that is proof of his stunning start with the Spanish giants.

The England midfielder's impact at the age of 20 after he was signed from Borussia Dortmund last June can be measured by a raft of individual awards.

He was named LaLiga's player of the month in August and October, and is the only man to win the award more than once this season.

Bellingham also picked up the 2023 Golden Boy and Kopa awards before becoming the first player to win the Breakthrough of the Year prize at this year's Laureus Awards.

After being named Bundesliga player of the year last season, Bellingham arrived at Real who were coming from a disappointing campaign marked by a humiliating loss at Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals.

With the departure of Casemiro and ageing Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the final year of their contracts, Bellingham was seen as a key part in revamping Real's midfield.

Following the shock departure of forward Karim Benzema to Saudi Arabia, however, and Real's failure to sign Kylian Mbappe or Harry Kane, coach Carlo Ancelotti had to improvise and saw in Bellingham the potential to be much more than a goalmaker.

The Italian coach changed his line-up from the traditional 4-3-3 formation he and Zinedine Zidane deployed to win five Champions League titles in eight years, giving Bellingham freedom to get forward and link up with Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.

That unleashed a hidden beast, with Bellingham scoring an astonishing 15 goals in his first 16 games, beating in December last season's tally of 14 in 42 matches and surpassing Real greats Cristiano Ronaldo and Alfredo Di Stefano who scored 13 goals in their first 15 games.

Bellingham's goals also earned Real valuable points, including a brace at Barcelona and the winner at Santiago Bernabeu to give his side come-from-behind wins in both El Clasicos.

He is the second-top scorer in LaLiga this season with 18 goals, two behind Girona's Artem Dovbyk and the only midfielder to score 10 or more times in Spain this campaign.

Until Saturday, however, the only major silverware Bellingham had won was the German Cup and he now has the chance to add the Champions League and Euro 2024 crowns to complete a glorious campaign.

Bellingham has become a fan favourite at Madrid
Bellingham has become a fan favourite at MadridReuters

"For this season the aim is to win everything, that has to be the aim for the two biggest teams (Real and England)," Bellingham told Reuters in October.

"It’s important that we quit the talking and finally perform for our fans."

LaLiga in the bag, he has two more to go to be as good as his word.


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