Is Jude Bellingham a Modern Zinedine Zidane?

On 2 March, Jude Bellingham’s last-minute winner against Valencia was disallowed. The referee, Jesús Gil Manzano, had blown the full-time whistle seconds before the ball hit the Valencia net. Bellingham showed his frustration, and as a result, was shown the red card.

Bellingham will return from his two-game suspension in Madrid’s game against Athletic Club on the last day of March. Without Bellingham, Real Madrid still managed a 4-0 win over Celta Vigo. In instances where Bellingham has been absent, be it due to injury – or as in this case, a suspension – others have stepped in and delivered brilliant performances.

Instant impact

It is only Jude Bellingham’s first season at the Bernabéu, but the English midfielder quickly gelled well into the team. His impact was instant, and his contribution has never faded away.

Since joining, he has racked up an incredible 20 goals in all competitions already. Even more remarkable is that he has 29 goal contributions in all competitions. With his consistency, the numbers are set to grow until the end of the season.

Real Madrid is a star-studded team, with the likes of Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Bellingham, to name a few. However, as of now, it is Englishman who is proving to be Madrid’s best player. The team has proven that they can still win in his absence, although, his undeniable genius in the midfield and goal-scoring prowess is something that his team will be keen to get back.

Ballon d’Or shouts for the young midfielder have been growing louder by the minute, as Bellingham continues to prove himself both on and off the pitch.

Zidane comparisons

Ballon d’Or shouts are not all that Bellingham is getting. He has been receiving comparisons to the legendary Zinedine Zidane, not only from fans but from manager Carlo Ancelotti as well.

Zidane was a former Real Madrid midfielder, a football legend, and a common household name amongsfootball lovers. Zidane retired from club football at Real Madrid, hanging his boots up after scoring 49 goals for the club. Zidane was not a forward, however, it was his style of play that had heads turning and jaws dropping. He was an elegant playmaker who was not shy to create goal-scoring opportunities, allowing him to provide 68 assists for Real Madrid.

Bellingham took Zidane’s number five shirt upon joining Real Madrid. Bellingham is the current La Liga top scorer, confidently living up to the pressure so far. Bellingham’s physical and technical gifts arguably make him one of the most complete central midfield players since Zidane.

Despite similarities to the Frenchman, Bellingham is his own player and one that carries the traits now needed in modern football. Bellingham’s ability to cover more of the pitch quickly and his confidence in the final third is something that Ancelotti said that Bellingham has that Zidane does not. Similarly, Zidane had some unique qualities that Bellingham currently does not possess.

Not only has Bellingham spoken of his admiration for Zidane, though the Frenchman himself has spoken highly of the young player; “He’s an unbelievable player who does incredible things. You could have imagined what he was going to do, but he’s surpassed all the statistics with what he’s doing.

“Don’t forget that he’s only 20 years old. He arrived at Real Madrid with a lot of desire, a lot of goals and he is setting the bar very high. He’s just showing everyone what he is and it’s great to see him like that. I’m a big fan of his and now we want him to win trophies with Real Madrid. It’s everything he wanted for himself.”

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