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Jude Bellingham’s love affair with Real Madrid is only just getting started. Hailed by some as the next Zinedine Zidane, the prodigious midfielder looks set to stay in Spain for years to come. With a long career ahead of him, however, it seems inevitable that he will one day return to England – but past comments suggest that Manchester United may not be at the front of the queue.
It certainly won’t be for the want of trying. The Red Devils have held a long-standing interest in Bellingham, reportedly drafting in Sir Alex Ferguson as part of a tour around the club’s facilities when the Madrid star was still a teenager at Birmingham City.
Back then, Bellingham opted to ditch the Championship for Borussia Dortmund in a decision which worked wonders for his young career. And when he became available this summer, United lost out again as the 20-year-old plumped for the Bernabeu.
Liverpool were among a host of other top clubs rumoured to be keeping tabs on the former BVB man, and they might fancy their chances of pipping United if Bellingham ever decides to have a crack at the English top flight.
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That’s because the midfield maestro may have already closed the door on a future move to Old Trafford. Only last year, a Red Devils fan asked Bellingham during an autograph signing whether he would join the club.
Laughing while walking away, the player responded: “Don’t be silly.” A move away from the Bernabeu is one of the last things Bellingham will be thinking about at present, having made an electric start in the famous white shirt.
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Excelling in an attacking midfield role under manager Carlo Ancelotti, he went into the international break off the back of a late goal against Celta Vigo and a stoppage-time strike against Getafe – both of which decided the matches in Real’s favour.
With five goals in his first four matches, Bellingham is already a cult hero in Madrid. And he followed it up with a superb performance for England against Scotland on Tuesday night, scoring in a 3-1 win for the Three Lions.
“He doesn’t have a point to prove to us, we know he is a really good player,” said England boss Gareth Southgate after the final whistle.
“Saturday [in the draw with Ukraine] was not his best game but we weren’t at the level we wanted to be and we knew he has a fantastic personality to come back from that. His performances have been outstanding and one performance isn’t going to change that.”
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