Jude Bellingham, Real Madrid’s shining star, showcased more than just his football skills at the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Two days after his sensational win for Los Blancos in El Clasico, Bellingham graced the ceremony sporting flamboyant wide-legged flares, grabbing as many eyeballs off the field as he does on it.
Among the nominees for the Ballon d’Or, Bellingham secured the 18th spot, nudging ahead of fellow Englishman and football sensation, Harry Kane. Although the recent season’s performances weren’t a determining factor for the top award—which Lionel Messi clinched for the eighth time after Argentina’s World Cup triumph—Bellingham didn’t leave the venue empty-handed.
His standout performance earned him the coveted Kopa Trophy, an accolade given to the best under-21 player, chosen by past Ballon d’Or winners. In his heartfelt acceptance speech, Bellingham expressed gratitude to his Real Madrid family: teammates, staff, and everyone behind the scenes. He attributed his success to their unwavering support, which allowed him to fully express his innate football prowess. While individual accolades like the Kopa are significant, Bellingham stressed that team trophies remained paramount. This sentiment was underscored by a nod of agreement from football legend David Beckham, who was present in the audience.
Bellingham faced tough competition. Nominees included Barcelona duo Gavi and Pedri, fellow Real Madrid colleague Eduardo Camavinga, and RB Leipzig’s rising star, Xavi Simons. Simons, after a breakout season scoring 22 goals in 48 appearances for the German club, was a strong contender. However, Bellingham’s sensational performance for Real Madrid, post his £113million summer transfer—racking up 13 goals in just 13 games—affirmed his deservingness of the trophy.
Bellingham’s previous season with Borussia Dortmund was equally impactful. The then 20-year-old dynamo netted 14 goals in 47 games, propelling Dortmund to the cusp of the German first division title. His choice of the No. 5 jersey at Real Madrid pays tribute to the legendary Zinedine Zidane. Bellingham admitted to embracing the pressure and expressed his admiration for Zidane.
Joining the ranks of past winners like Kylian Mbappe, Matthijs de Ligt, Pedri, and Gavi, Bellingham acknowledged the honor and once again highlighted the importance of team achievements. He fondly reminisced about former England teammate Musiala, expressing pride in their parallel football journeys. In return, Musiala conveyed his hearty congratulations through a video message.
This recognition is more than just an award for Bellingham; it signifies his arrival among football’s elite. His unmatched influence in Real Madrid’s successes, combined with the ease with which he assimilated into the team, points to his unparalleled potential. Football pundits believe that Bellingham is poised to redefine the future of the sport. As fans eagerly anticipate the next Ballon d’Or ceremony, they can’t help but wonder if Bellingham might ascend to the very top, echoing sentiments expressed by the legendary Luis Figo about Real Madrid’s unmatched dimension in football.