As a child, Jude Bellingham would stay awake past his bedtime to watch the classic match. He was determined not to miss a single minute, and now everyone else wants to see him play as well. This season, only one Real Madrid player has played in more clásicos than Bellingham. When he appeared to be injured towards the end of their midweek match against Braga, just four days before facing Barcelona, one newspaper headline declared it a “Bellingham scare”. However, Bellingham insists it was just a minor issue and he is fully prepared for the biggest game of the season on Saturday afternoon.
During an interview with Spanish state TV, Bellingham was asked if he was feeling nervous about the game. He replied that he was not, as he has played many high-pressure games before, although none of this level. He expressed more excitement than anything and is eagerly anticipating the atmosphere. Despite any other factors, he believes it will be a fun experience.
As a child growing up in England, I had access to coverage of the clásicos and Spanish football. Despite my mother’s reminders to go to bed, I always made sure to watch the games, even if they ended late at night. I would stay up until the very end, witnessing iconic moments such as Ronaldo’s ‘calma’ gesture at the Camp Nou. These memories have stayed with me, both the good and the bad. There have been countless classic games and magical moments, making it a joy to be able to play in them.
As a football player, there is no better place to be. The significance is clear and easy to comprehend – I grew up watching clásicos and witnessing the passionate reactions from both the fans in the stadium and on television. It is evident how much it holds significance for them.
“We acknowledge the weight of our responsibility; our goal is to perform well and bring pride to our supporters. In the previous game, I experienced a slight adjustment due to fatigue from playing a significant number of matches. However, I am focused on ensuring I am in optimal physical condition and I am currently feeling positive.”
Vinícius Júnior’s teammate, Bellingham, has been praised as being “Born to play for Real Madrid” and has an impressive record of eight goals in nine league matches and scoring in all three Champions League games. His high number of fouls in the Spanish league is not a coincidence. Some have likened him to legendary players such as Raúl, Zinedine Zidane, Alfredo Di Stéfano, and even Diego Maradona, though he humbly downplayed these comparisons after his incredible goal against Napoli.
Bellingham expressed difficulty discussing oneself in such a manner, attributing his success to the support of his coaches and teammates. He feels liberated on the field thanks to his coach’s strategic role for him, making the experience enjoyable. When he is enjoying his time on the field, he believes he performs at his highest level and hopes for this trend to continue.
Carlo Ancelotti stated that during his entire career in football, he had never witnessed such a young player make such a significant impact. The fans at the Bernabéu have even started singing Hey Jude to Bellingham. His celebration after scoring goals has already become iconic, partly due to its frequent occurrence.
“It’s been quite unexpected,” Bellingham, who turned 20 in June, stated. “I believe it’s a facet of my playing that has gotten better. However, the most crucial aspect for me is making an impact on the game in all areas of the field. While I have been very accurate in front of goal and displayed quality in creating and scoring goals, I also feel that my overall game has been quite strong, so I am pleased with that.”
I have a deep admiration for the Beatles and their music. They have a plethora of amazing songs, but there is one in particular that holds a special place in my heart. It brings me immense joy and gives me chills every time I hear it, especially when I’m on the field after scoring a goal, making a tackle, or performing a skill. The song gradually builds up and fills me with pride. I am incredibly thankful to the fans for their welcoming reception since joining the club. So far, it has been a successful start, and I am determined to continue repaying them for their support.