Enzo Candolo | Editor-in-Chief
September 21, 2023
Jude Bellingham might just be the best footballer in the world right now. From absolutely brexit tackles to scoring clutch goals in additional time, there’s not a thing the 20-year-old can’t do.
The young Englishman just arrived at the Spanish football club giant Real Madrid during the summer transfer window for the hefty price tag of €103 million (USD 109 million), payable to his former club, Borussia Dortmund. Although only recently brought into the topic of best in the world, let’s take a look at where Jude has come up from through his club career.
Jude started his “semi-professional” footballing career at the ripe age of seven. He played for Birmingham City as an under-8, then progressed through the club’s level until he was called up to the under-18 squad at only 14 years old. Then, one year later in 2018, he was playing with the under-23’s at 15, where he had three goals in only ten development appearances; he was slowly introduced to the first team in March of 2019 after getting interest from major European clubs and being mentioned in the FourFourTwo list of “50 most exciting teenagers in English football.”
In July of that year, he was invited into the first-team training squad for some friendlies in Portugal and was closer and closer to making regular appearances with the match-day team come time for the EFL season (English Football League) at only 16. He was linked to multiple huge transforms, including a move to Manchester United, which the club reportedly turned down at the end of the window. And during the pandemic season, Bellingham continued to shine, so much that by the end of that year, Birmingham retired the number 22 “to remember one of our own and to inspire others.”
The young star later chose to go to the Bundesliga to continue his growth as a player. The undisclosed fee was rumored to be £25 million, making him the highest paid 17-year-old in the world. Jude made his debut on September 14, 2020, and shined, scoring the second goal of the match, setting a club record for the youngest player to score in any competitive match. He was finishing the year in an impactful squad role with 46 appearances and four goals across all competitions. Bellingham was runner-up to Pedri of Barcelona in the 2021 Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best under-21 male player.
Senior Ford Twitty said, “Not only did he make a name for himself that season in Germany, but it allowed him to get called into the national team for the World Cup. And we all know his performances in Qatar got some bigger heads turning like Real Madrid and Liverpool.”
The 2022/23 season was huge for him, with remarkable performances shooting Jude into the conversations on the worldwide stage. While carrying Dortmund on his back till the end of the season, his efforts of winning Dortmund their first league title in over a decade just fell short to the esteemed club, Bayern Munich. Despite failing to capture a league title, his performances put him under the spotlight, and ultimately lead to his signing from Real Madrid – a top club in Europe.
Now, back up to the present: Jude was awarded the significant number five worn by legends like Zinidine Zidane to carry along the legacy and add to Madrid’s excellent football history. Junior Jonah Levandofsky said, “He’s clear of all midfielders in the world right now. He’s been nothing but a class act for Madrid; I would claim it was the sign of the summer.” He scored five goals in his first five LALIGA performances, contributing to Real’s undefeated start and top-of-the-league. And today, he scored a clutch goal in the additional 4 minutes of play to start Madrid off on a win in their Champions League campaign.
We’ll see if it’s beginner luck or if he is one of the rising stars in European football. But until then, you’ll have to sit back and watch Jude cook.