There is an exceptionally strong case to be made that Jude Bellingham is the best player in world football right now – his Real Madrid career has gotten off to the dream start.
But how exactly does his start stack up against some of the historic club’s biggest signings throughout the years?
Los Blancos parted with a cool £88.5million to snap up the 19-year-old from Borussia Dortmund, fending off interest from the Premier League’s most powerful clubs to ensure one of football’s hottest talents headed to the Spanish capital.
Signing for such a hefty price tag and then taking the infamous number five shirt upon his arrival saw expectations almost immediately piled on Bellingham, who was now in a completely different ballpark, without disrespecting Dortmund.
Wearing the shirt once donned by his idol Zizou and tasked with not only living up to that transfer fee, but being the man to lead Real into life after Kroos, Modric and Casemiro, it’s fair to say the pressure was on from the off.
Bellingham has shouldered all that pressure spectacularly, however. A goal on his La Liga debut was merely the start of an outstanding run of form that has shown no signs of slowing down.
He’s stolen headlines every week in Spain and across Europe for his glittering displays and prolific performances, quickly establishing himself as the guy at Real under Carlo Ancelotti.
The important part is making good on a strong start. But we’re interested in seeing how his first nine games at Real compare to the Galacticos of yesteryear.
And when you take a look at them, it becomes even more clear just how brilliant a start Bellingham has made at the club.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo weighed in with more goals in his first nine games as a Madrid player, but even then, Bellingham’s total contributions including assists trumps the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Meanwhile, Zidane – who Bellingham has not been afraid to show his adoration for – only managed four goals and one assist at the start. A fine record, but one that looks ordinary compared to the brilliant exploits of the Englishman.
Brazilian forward Ronaldo arrived and struggled with injury issues to begin with, but still managed four goal contributions from nine games – a feat again dwarfed by Bellingham.
The full stats provided by Transfermarkt can be found below, and make for fascinating reading both to highlight Bellingham’s talent and to see the shift in output across several eras of Galactico signings.
Jude Bellingham (2023-24)
Zinedine Zidane (2001-02)
David Beckham (2003-04)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2009-10)
Gareth Bale (2013-14)