“I think I’m 10 times better as a player than I was last season. I’m learning from these guys. The level here is so high, I’m like a sponge taking it all in.”
That’s what Real Madrid central midfielder Jude Bellingham, 20, said after a stellar performance that saw him explode for three goals in his second game of the new season.
Bellingham (two goals) and Vinicius Junior (one goal) led Real to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Almeria in the second leg of their 2023-2024 Spanish La Liga away tie at the Power Horse Stadium on Sept. 19 (local time) to make it two wins in a row.
Bellingham was the team’s top performer on the day with two goals and an assist. Earlier in the day, Bellingham scored a brace in the first leg of the La Liga away leg against Atletico Bilbao, helping the team to a 2-0 win.
In an interview with Real Madrid TV, Bellingham said, “I watched (the Real Madrid upset) a lot on TV when I was younger. I remember thinking, ‘They won’t be able to do it,’ and in the end they did. Now I’m here, I’m watching it. I never thought we were going to lose. I saw the faces of the players and they didn’t panic,” he said.
He was referring to the shaky start that saw Real concede a surprise header to Sergio Arribas in the first three minutes of the match.
Bellingham’s stellar performances for Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga last season made him a target for scouts from top clubs around the league, and he eventually moved to Real for €130 million ($153 million).
Vinicius Junior scored his first goal of the season with an assist from Bellingham. He said he hopes his partnership with Bellingham will match the one he shared with former teammate Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad).
Vinicius added: “We have to keep doing that. Jude always scores goals. With my help and the help of the whole team, we’re going to have a lot of success this season.”
“I hope it (the Bellingham pairing) can come together, just like my relationship with Kareem, who gave us many goals, many assists and good soccer,” he added.
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti also 토토사이트 spoke of Bellingham: “He’s been in Germany for three years, that’s why he adapts well to La Liga and our style of play. He’s doing well,” he said with satisfaction.
Joselu, 33, who joined from Espanyol earlier this season, is Real’s only other center-forward, but he doesn’t have the same devastating goal-scoring ability as Karim Benzema.
Ancelotti has switched to a 4-4-2 (or 4-3-1-2) from the 4-3-3 formation he used last season, with Bellingham playing below the duo of Vinicius Junior and Hodrigo, and it has paid off early in the season.
Ancelotti said: “At the moment I have no doubts about the formation. We feel comfortable with it, and it gives us diversity in attack.”