Jude Bellingham has now scored in both Champions League matches he has played for Real Madrid

Jude Bellingham: ‘A little Di Stefano, a little Zidane’ – Real Madrid have a new hero

Jude Bellingham has now scored in both Champions League matches he has played for Real MadridJude Bellingham has now scored in both Champions League matches he has played for Real Madrid

It is a goal already being talked about as a possible Puskas award winner.

Picking the ball up 40 yards from goal, Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham waltzed his way past various Napoli defenders before curling into the net for a Champions League moment that will long be remembered.

Real may have been 3-2 winners in Tuesday’s thriller, but it was the boy from Stourbridge who stole the show once more.

Just when you didn’t think things could get any better for Real’s 103m euro summer signing, 20-year England midfielder Bellingham made sure he was the talk of Europe across the newspapers, TV, radio and social media.

Nine games, eight goals. Bellingham’s start to life at Real – after joining from Borussia Dortmund – has been simply sensational.

His arms aloft celebration is already becoming iconic among Real fans, while the Spanish media are purring in admiration.

‘A little Di Stefano, a little Zidane’ and ‘It was like Maradona’ were two of the latest headlines.

“I believe in myself, but I didn’t know it would be this good,” said Bellingham. “I owe it to the staff and my team-mates.”

  • From humble beginnings to shining on the biggest stages

Asked about any comparison with former Argentina and Napoli great Diego Maradona, though, Bellingham was quick to downplay them.

“That’s a bit too much,” he said. “It was a nice goal. From what I’ve seen on YouTube and documentaries, his quality was a bit more than mine, or a lot more. I’m just trying to contribute in a Jude way.

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“It may have been one of my best goals. We were facing a great team and in a great stadium. The most important thing has been the victory and having contributed to it. It is important to continue with this pace.”

When Bellingham left Birmingham for Dortmund for £25m in 2020, becoming the most expensive 17-year-old in the history of football, the Championship side were mocked by some for retiring the teenager’s shirt number, despite his only playing one full season.

Who’s laughing now? He has been described as a possible three-time Ballon d’Or winner by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and is now seen as a key man for both England and Real Madrid.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has even described Bellingham as “the best player in the world right now”.

He said: “His dream was always to be part of La Liga at the biggest level and he believes he belongs to that level. In Spain the comparisons have started, first Zidane, then di Stefano. Everybody, all the players, are saying what a brilliant guy and brilliant footballer he is.”

After watching Bellingham drive Real to the top of La Liga and in control of their Champions League group, manager Carlo Ancelotti, said: “I’m surprised he’s only 20 years old because he looks like he’s 30 because of his character and attitude.

“He is always focused on the game and knows what he has to do. It’s unusual for a 20-year-old. He has a lot of quality, physical strength and skill. He surprises me like he does to everyone else.”

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Forget Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Real appear to have found a new formidable partnership.

Brazil forward Vinicius Jr, just back from injury, and Bellingham have struck up a friendship on and off the field that will be ominous for the rest of Europe.

“He’s incredible,” Bellingham said of 23-year-old Vinicius. “He’s probably the best in the world.

“He’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever played with. He makes games easier for me with his speed and his ability.”

The admiration is mutual.

“I wanted Jude at Real Madrid,” said Vinicius after the Napoli game. “I sent many messages to Bellingham last year. I was texting every day and I was telling him: come to Madrid.”