Bellingham fever fuels Real Madrid hopes



Mon, 07 Aug 2023 - 08:03 GMT


Mon, 07 Aug 2023 - 08:03 GMT

MADRID, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Real Madrid are banking on the arrival of England midfielder Jude Bellingham to regain the LaLiga title from Barcelona and challenge seriously for a record-extending 15th European Cup.

The 20-year-old has lived up to sky high expectations as the Spanish giants invested 103 million euros plus 30 million in add-ons to sign him from Borussia Dortmund, the second most expensive signing in the club's history.


Bellingham has made an instant impact in the dressing room with his coach and team mates delighted by his performances in pre-season matches.

The departures of attacking players including Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema and Spain international Marco Asensio have left Real short of firepower, with only journeyman forward Joselu signed from relegated Espanyol.

Rumours continue to swirl about a possible move for France striker Kylian Mbappe who has said he has no intention of extending his contract with Paris St Germain.


For now, however, Real are lacking a top-level striker to replace Benzema and coach Carlo Ancelotti is relying on the versatile Bellingham, changing the system he used in his former spells at Real Madrid when they won the Champions League in 2014 and 2022.

Instead of his traditional 4-3-3, Ancelotti adopted a 4-4-2 formation in pre-season friendlies with Bellingham as an attacking midfielder and jet-heeled Brazilians Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo as centre forwards.


Bellingham's displays were widely praised in Spanish media and his connection with Vinicius excited Ancelotti.

"Bellingham is a complete midfielder and different from the others we have," the Italian told reporters during Real's pre-season trip to the U.S.

"He is a fantastic player. The team has to get used to his quality, which is extraordinary. His arrival in the box is very important for the team.


"He is very important for us because he has a lot of pace and intensity in his game. He moves very well without the ball, he goes into free space and adds another quality to this fantastic squad."

Real Madrid start their bid for a record-extending 36th Spanish title on Saturday at Athletic Bilbao.



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