Jude Bellingham produced an El Clasico masterclass – he might genuinely be England’s greatest ever
It sounds ridiculous to talk up Jude Bellingham – at 20 years of age – as potentially the greatest English footballer in history. But never before have we seen a player like this.
“Lionel Messi” was Arsene Wenger’s answer when he was asked who was the best player in history back in 2011. The Argentinian was just 23 years old at the time.
Admittedly Messi had already won three Champions Leagues by that point and had been the star player for arguably the greatest club side of all time, Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, but the point stands. The World Cup, hundreds of goals and five (soon to be six) Ballon d’Or that Messi achieved later only vindicated Wenger’s shout further.
So far Bellingham’s honours list stands at a solitary DFB Pokal, which he won playing alongside Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland at Dortmund. Were he fit and available for Dortmund’s final-day choke against Mainz last season, he might have a Bundesliga title under his belt. He still has to go and do it.
But you look at the way that Bellingham rocked up to his first appearance in El Clasico, and made it all his own, and you’re left with the feeling that he has everything at his disposal to become the greatest player in English football history.
This is a player that moved to the Bernabeu for a €103million fee before his 20th birthday. That matched Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring 10 goals in his first 10 games for Real Madrid. That was likened to Alfredo Di Stefano by the famously discerning Madrid press before he’d even made 20 appearances.
“Bellingham has the football planet under its spell,” wrote Tomas Roncero in AS.
“A player without limits. A guy who turns every appearance of his at the Bernabeu into a mass spectacle, with thousands of his t-shirts with the ‘5’ on the back and an excellent choreography that always ends with a happy ending.”
All that was before Bellingham scored one of the all-time great Clasico goals and then an injury-time winner. Away at Barcelona.
ElClásico glory belongs to Jude Bellingham and Real Madrid! ⚪
In club football's biggest fixture, the Englishman:
– scored his best goal yet for Real Madrid
– scored a 92nd minute winner
He is SPECIAL 😤😤 pic.twitter.com/BJ3k8e6Bpe
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) October 28, 2023
Madrid’s last €100million signing, Eden Hazard, never even made a single appearance against Barcelona – despite spending four years at the club.
It sounds sacrilegious, but even Zinedine Zidane was never this good. Honestly, he wasn’t. Bellingham has already beaten the legendary Frenchman’s best-ever goalscoring season for Madrid. It’s not even November.
Ask yourself – when have you ever seen a run of form like this from an English player? When have you seen an Englishmen turn up at one of the Europe’s glamour clubs and instantly make themselves their best player?
Bellingham already looks a genuine contender for next year’s Ballon d’Or and is one of the key reasons why England are considered one of the heavy favourites for Euro 2024.
We don’t know what the future holds. We do know that Bellingham is doing unbelievable, remarkable things.
All there is to sit back and enjoy. The best footballer in the world might just play for England. When could you last say that?