Jude Bellingham & 7 other players who carried their team to the league title in their debut season

Carrying your team to a league title is some achievement, especially if you manage to do it in your debut season.

With the ever-increasing demands on players in the modern day, it is commonplace for stars to take some time to adapt to their new surroundings, but not everyone needs time to settle in.

We’ve taken a closer look at eight stars who immediately hit the ground running and carried their team to the league title in their debut season.

Jude Bellingham

The Real Madrid jersey can weigh heavy as plenty of huge names from years gone by have struggled to deal with the pressure that comes along with being a Galactico.

Bellingham though? He’s made light work of his debut season in Spain. Having scored 18 league goals and notched four assists, he’s been involved in almost 30% of the goals that Carlo Ancelotti’s title-winning side have scored this season.

With the sort of season he’s having, Bellingham is definitely in Ballon d’Or territory.

2024 Ballon d'Or candidates Harry Kane Lionel Messi Jude Bellingham

READ: 2024 Ballon d’Or power rankings: Kane, Bellingham, Mbappe… or Messi once again?

Erling Haaland

Alright, Man City had already won four of the last five Premier League titles prior to signing Haaland, but there’s no doubt that he carried them to the summit last year.

Scoring 36 league goals and breaking all sorts of records along the way, Haaland more than justifies his place on this list.

Robin van Persie

His debut season at Old Trafford was truly spectacular. The 2012-13 campaign proved to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final hurrah and what better way to go out than by winning the title?

Van Persie more than pulled his weight during that season too, winning the Golden Boot and producing plenty of match-winning moments.

“To be honest with you, I think the signing of Van Persie, won us the league with his 29 goals that season. He was fantastic,” Ferguson said upon being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame last year.

“He was that thrust in the last third of the field and the goal he scored against Aston Villa from Wayne Rooney’s pass to win the league, you couldn’t have got a better goal than that.”

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Diego Costa

Chelsea struck gold when they landed a deal for Costa back in 2014. Jose Mourinho’s side had been among the title challengers in the previous season, but a forward line of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o wasn’t enough to get them over the line.

The following summer they snatched Costa from Atletico Madrid and the rest is history. Bagging 20 league goals in his debut season, Costa was instrumental in Chelsea’s 2014-15 title triumph.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Prior to arriving at PSG, the French club hadn’t won Ligue 1 in almost two decades. Of course, Ibrahimovic’s arrival in the French capital coincided with the QSI buying the club, but he was still the one sticking the ball into the back of the net.

In his debut season, the talismanic forward bagged 30 league goals and paved the way for PSG to dominate the league in the following years.

His overall record in France still baffles us to this day – 180 appearances, 156 goals, 62 assists. Truly obscene numbers.

Sergio Aguero

He scored that goal against QPR during his debut season in English football. The rest is history.

Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. 13 May 2012.

READ: 12 unbelievable stats from Man City’s iconic ‘Agueroooo’ 3-2 win over QPR

N’Golo Kante

The Frenchman won the Premier League during his debut season with Leicester City and Chelsea – playing a key role in both triumphs.

Fellow players and fans alike were quick to recognise Kante for the impact that he had in both seasons. In 2015-16 he won the Leicester City Players’ Player of the Year award and the following year he won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

At his peak, you won’t find many Premier League midfielders that are better than Kante.

Luis Suarez

Suarez had the ultimate redemption arc in 2020-21. No longer deemed good enough for Barcelona, he was kicked out of the club and subsequently joined league rivals Atletico Madrid.

He clearly had a fire in his belly that season too as he scored 21 goals and carried Diego Simeone’s side to their first league title since 2013–14.

“He’s different,” Simeone said about Suarez. “A goalscorer, an animal, a killer, a winner. I told him: ‘you know what this is about, you have to transmit that to the rest.’ He came to rebel.”