This is getting really, really ridiculous. “There have been so many classic games, so many magic moments,” Jude Bellingham had said on the eve of his first appearance in the biggest club match in the world and now he has one of his own, another absurd comic-book moment in an absurd comic-book start to his Real Madrid career.
At the Rolling Stones’ temporary residence, the famous tongue emblem can be seen on Barcelona’s red and blue jersey. Mick Jagger was also spotted in the directors’ box. Someone played Hey Jude twice during the event.
How about this for an iconic moment? It was a little after 6pm, the sun beginning to set behind the bleachers. Bellingham stood in the corner of the stadium, arms outstretched once again, with his teammates cheering and urging him to do it again. He nodded and mouthed “yes” in response.
In his debut season in Spain, he managed to score his 10th league goal by sneaking past the Barcelona defense and beating Marc-André ter Stegen with 92 minutes on the clock in his first clásico. This was a remarkable feat, as he defeated one of his greatest rivals.
Madrid, after trailing by a goal, had now taken the lead with a score of 2-1 and reclaimed their spot at the top of the standings. Despite their impressive performance throughout the game, Barcelona suffered their first defeat of the season. Xavi summed it up by saying, “That’s just Real Madrid. That’s football.”
This also happened in Bellingham. Not only did he win, but he also scored an amazing goal to give Madrid a chance. It created an opportunity to watch a memorable moment again and again. It was a challenging game until that point, but one powerful kick changed everything.
Bellingham made the final push into the region, with his initial move coming just two minutes in when he intercepted Andreas Christensen’s pass. Despite Barcelona’s domination, Bellingham’s 68th minute equalizer shifted the momentum in the game. This was not only due to his early goal, which was the quickest scored in a clásico this century, but also in the overall rhythm of the match.
There was a strong energy from the team and a lack of action from Madrid that became apparent when the home team scored first. Ilkay Gündogan was given the opportunity to carry the ball through the midfield until he reached the edge of the penalty area after four minutes. When the ball was passed back to him, David Alaba attempted to stop it but ended up unintentionally setting it up for Gündogan. Gündogan took advantage of the situation and scored on the rebound, getting past Kepa.
Bellingham, accompanied by the bothersome Gavi, was struggling to get involved in the game. Vinícius Júnior, up against Ronald Araújo, continued to pose a threat but was only able to break free occasionally. He frequently showed his frustration, even exchanging words with Xavi on the sidelines. Just before halftime, he seemed poised to break away but was taken down by Ferran Torres with a tackle resembling that of rugby.
Gavi played exceptionally well, and so did 20-year-old Fermín López, who struck a post and missed another shot from the edge of the box. Despite playing in Spain’s third division last year, he appeared comfortable in the clásico and confidently led Barcelona, who seemed to be in charge of the game. They came close to scoring a second goal after the break.
Iñigo Martínez directed López’s pass with his head towards the post. Araújo was the first to reach the rebound, but his shot was saved impressively by Kepa. Madrid continued to struggle in their attempts to challenge Barcelona or gain control of a game that could have slipped away from them completely. João Cancelo managed to break through their defense twice, making runs into the box from the right and almost scoring a second goal. However, the first shot went over the goal and the second was deflected wide by Alaba.
All of a sudden and without warning, the unexpected occurred. Bellingham quickly reversed direction and retrieved the ball from 30 yards away. The way he kicked it was remarkable: with minimal movement before the kick, almost effortlessly, the shot cut through the air with remarkable accuracy and force, landing in the corner of the net before Ter Stegen could even reach it.
The outcome of the game was uncertain, so there were no festivities or win just yet. However, it was certain that Jude Bellingham would secure the victory, as he always does.