Teenager from England displays cocky confidence by promising to continue wearing the legendary No. 5 shirt for Real Madrid.
Before the formal presentations, Jude Bellingham made the loudest declaration of her spectacular Real Madrid debut.
With the swaggering self-confidence that led Real to pay £115 million and left Premier League suitors watching from afar with varying degrees of seething envy, the 19 years old accepted Zinedine Zidane’s legendary white No 5 jersey.
Inviting comparisons to a club great and promising to live up to the standards of the ultimate Galactico, Bellingham requested one of the heaviest shirts in the Madrid collection.
Perhaps by taking that call, I put myself in an awkward situation, Bellingham admitted.
“I see it as a tribute. He was the best player ever, and I want to carry on the number’s heritage. I’m incredibly appreciative. I’ve expressed my admiration for Zinedine Zidane in interviews. But I’m not aiming to match his talent. The Jude I want to be.
🗣 "I admire Zinedine Zidane, the legacy he has at the club. I'm not trying to be the same as him, I'm just trying to be Jude."
Jude Bellingham on wearing the number 5 shirt as opposed to number 22 pic.twitter.com/x1UxM0f8lq
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 15, 2023
It is not surprising that he has such confidence given his young age. Bellingham has successfully straddled the line between confidence and arrogance ever since his first brush with superstardom with his move from Birmingham City to Borussia Dortmund as a 17 years old and subsequent England call up. Here is a young man who is at ease with his ability to respect himself just as much as those who paved the way.
Real has previously spent millions of dollars on English talent, including Steve McManaman, Michael Owen, and Jonathan Woodgate. Given Bellingham’s acknowledged position within the England team at the time of their moves, their signing of David Beckham merits the most comparison to Bellingham.
Jude Bellingham being unveiled as Real Madrid’s new number 5️⃣!
🎥 Real Madrid pic.twitter.com/3i9WblQjiL
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 15, 2023
However, Bellingham was marketed as the start of an age of rebuilding, although there was always a sense that his fellow countrymen before him were the ornamental support acts under Real Madrid president Florentino Perez’s Galactico concept.
One of the best players in the world has arrived to Real Madrid today because he chose to sign with the most elite team in the world, Perez remarked.
All the hallmarks of a prestigious Bernabeu unveiling were there at the introduction, including grandiosity, pomposity, and a club president overcome with self-importance.
Given that Bellingham is still in the beginning stages of his professional career, a film of a career retrospective was shown; nonetheless, the soundtrack of the movie seemed more appropriate for an homage to a departing legend.
Welcome to superstardom, Jude, the choreography cried. Bellingham and his family appeared initially uneasy as they were encircled by the scary armada of perplexingly unenthusiastic grey old guys wearing freshly pressed charcoal suits. This was almost consoling.
In spite of the fact that Bellingham will earn an estimated £70 million over the length of his six years contract, he showed there dressed as if he were going to a funeral.
“Thank you for joining me on the proudest day of my life, the day I joined the greatest football club in the history of the game.” 💎
“𝐇𝐚𝐥𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐫𝐢𝐝!” 🤍
Jude Bellingham addresses the Real Madrid faithful for the first time 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/z290pyjAQ4
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) June 15, 2023
In fact, the photograph that was made public showing the contract signing had a passing likeness to a peace accord between a modern youthful leader and an old dictator.
Thankfully, when the player was given the chance to speak, the energy and charm were at their height.
“I didn’t just come here because of the club’s size. I was completely on board when the men sold the team’s vision, Bellingham remarked.
“The concepts are so intriguing, that I couldn’t pass up the chance.
“England holds Real Madrid in such high regard. As you get older, you learn to value the past. Although the past is fantastic, I want to contribute as one of the players.
Money is not an object. I don’t consider money. I enjoy playing the game. I adore the sensation I had at the club. I wanted to act swiftly when I made my decision.
I enjoy the thought of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Returning to England could have been simpler, but I was unable to refuse Real Madrid. For me, it seemed like the appropriate choice.
“I had goosebumps and my heart was on the verge of stopping when my dad told me that they were interested in me 12 or 15 months ago.”
A message is sent to Manchester City by signing
Bellingham was a dream signing for Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea at various points this summer.
Real are the masters of making such significant player introductions into a global spectacle in an era where Premier League clubs do not bother with press conferences to unveil their most recent prize acquisition.
Whether it was deliberate or not, watching and hearing England’s future stars explain why the La Liga giants remain the top choice sends a strong message to those who believed City would dominate the Champions League as they do the Premier League.
Bellingham remarked, “City had a great season, but it gives us more fire.”
“I have joined the greatest football team in history. Being in the room with all 14 Champions League trophies glaring at you was the ultimate experience. I am really eager to get one in my hands.