Welcome to El Clasico, Jude…
Jude Bellingham had an exciting experience on Saturday night when he participated in his first El Clasico, where Real Madrid clashed with Barcelona in Texas.
The 20-year-old, who recently made a high-profile move from Borussia Dortmund to Los Blancos for an initial fee of £88.5 million, earned a spot in the starting lineup.
He formed a formidable four-man midfield alongside Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Federico Valverde.
Under the tactical guidance of manager Carlo Ancelotti, Jude Bellingham assumed the role of the team’s most advanced midfielder during the match.
Positioned just behind forwards Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, Bellingham played a key role in the team’s attacking strategies.
It was Barcelona who secured a 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele, Fermin Lopez, and Ferran Torres.
However, the scoreline doesn’t quite tell the full story.
Real Madrid hit the woodwork five times during the match. PerBBC Sport, even Barcelona boss Xavi admitted: “The result is a bit misleading.”
He added: “We shouldn’t be overconfident. The result is very favourable but it doesn’t mean we played a super match.
“It was a very even match in which Madrid also had many chances. There are many things to improve.”
Real Madrid had a golden opportunity to level the scores after Dembele’s opener when they were awarded a 20th-minute penalty, but Vinicius Junior watched his spot-kick rebound back off the crossbar.
The score was still 1-0 at the AT&T Stadium when it all kicked off between the two rivals following a full-blooded challenge by Frenkie de Jong on Eder Militao.
Madrid’s players were understandably unhappy with the tackle and rushed towards De Jong, whose teammates then ran over to protect him in turn.
As the situation threatened to boil over, Bellingham was spotted looking a bit lost during the commotion.
Video: Bellingham’s reaction when it kicked off during El Clasico
Here’s the initial incident:
Barcelona vs Real Madrid. Waiting for Xavi’s post match comments pic.twitter.com/4J9D017wlg
— WelBeast (@WelBeast) July 29, 2023
And here’s the clip of Bellingham’s reaction, which has amused football fans and gone viral on social media:
Bellingham didn’t get the El Clasico memo.
He’s looking so lost 😂😂😂😂pic.twitter.com/nZPg81TFha
— 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐋𝐄𝐒 (@ChaaliiyKay) July 29, 2023
How did Bellingham perform against Barcelona?
In just his third pre-season appearance for Real Madrid, Jude Bellingham showcased his usual composure and confidence during the 73 minutes he spent on the field.
The English midfielder displayed his skills with a couple of excellent touches, consistently posing a threat whenever he had possession of the ball in Barcelona’s half.
Wearing the iconic No. 5 jersey, previously donned by the great Zinedine Zidane, Bellingham executed a delightful flick midway through the first half that would have made the French legend proud.
Watch Bellingham’s flick (at 1:18) and the rest of his highlights against Barcelona here:
Indeed, despite his stature and maturity on the pitch, it’s important to remember that Jude Bellingham is still a young player who only turned 20 last month.
Birmingham City’s decision to retire his number 22 shirt in July 2020 raised eyebrows, considering Bellingham was merely 17 years old at the time and had just agreed to join Borussia Dortmund.
However, this move demonstrated the club’s belief in his immense talent and potential.
It is evident that Bellingham possesses the qualities and potential to establish himself as one of the finest players of his generation.
With his skills, composure, and footballing intelligence, he has the capability to leave a lasting impact on the sport and potentially be recognized as one of the best players of his era in the future.
Bellingham has everything you’d want in a modern-day midfielder and there will be many English clubs kicking themselves for not trying to harder to sign him earlier in his career.
Ancelotti watched Bellingham and his teammates lose 3-0 but was still encouraged by what he saw.
“The result is the least important thing,” the revered Italian coach told reporters. “It hurts to lose, but I’ll keep the good things we did.
“We were good in terms of intensity, we had a lot of chances that didn’t go in. Five [against the woodwork] in a game is quite rare, I don’t think it has ever happened to me. But it’s better if it happens in pre-season.”
Will Real Madrid register Bellingham as an EU player?
According to recent reports from Spanish outlet Marca, it has been claimed that Jude Bellingham has applied for an Irish passport in order to potentially become an EU player at Real Madrid.
If his application is successful, this move would allow Bellingham to play for Real Madrid without taking up a non-EU player slot. Currently, La Liga clubs are limited to having a maximum of five non-EU players in their squad, with only three of them allowed to be named in the matchday squad.
By acquiring EU status through an Irish passport, Bellingham would have the advantage of not being counted as a non-EU player, thus providing Real Madrid with more flexibility in their squad selection and recruitment of other non-EU players.
Brexit means that, as things stand, England’s Bellingham is currently considered a non-EU player.
When will Bellingham make his competitive debut for Real Madrid?
Real Madrid have one more pre-season friendly left to play, against Juventus, before their La Liga campaign gets underway against Athletic Bilbao on August 12.
And Bellingham will no doubt be intent on helping his new team get off to the best possible start.
Asked if he fears the pressure of playing for Real Madrid, Europe’s most successful club, Bellingham said earlier this month: “Not really, I think it follows you everywhere.
“People are saying to me that there is pressure on the move and stuff like that.
“Wherever I was going to take my next step there was going to be pressure, so it’s one of those things now that I get to enjoy because I’m under it so much.
“It’s all about finding ways of coping and I’m having a great time.”
And when asked what he initially wants to achieve in Spain, Bellingham replied: “Just to try and win, that’s why the club have signed me, that’s why I’m there,” he said.
“That’s why I have joined the biggest club in the world, to try and keep adding to the history and win trophies.
“I’m buzzing. It’s a move that is a dream move for me.
“I’m there now. I feel like I’ve done all the talking, now it’s about getting ready and starting playing.
“I’m just so happy to be at the club.
“I want to be at a club that is going to be competing for titles and I want to try and help the team and club be as brilliant as it has been for all of time.
“Now is my chance to be part of that history and that goes hand in hand because I know the club wants to win and I want to win so hopefully it will happen.
“It grabs you on its own, the size of the club is already surreal when you think about it, but when you add into that the project they have got in place, it was really important I made this step because it is just the place to be for me.”