Historically, footballer’s positive and declined performances have all been attached to various elements. These elements appearing in different scenarios have contributed to either a player’s successful spell at a football club or failed deals.
Some of these factors include playing environment, league temperatures, transfer spending, players replaced and many more possible circumstances that may surround a player’s arrival at a club.
Examining the world’s most valuable player, Jude Bellingham’s last summer switch from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid for a fee of €103 million, as well as his rapid adaptation to the Spanish League becomes a delightful topic of discussion.
Many have wondered how the midfielder seemed to have discovered a new side to his game and how instantaneous his development in this area of coverage has become. This article takes a look at three things which may have helped the Englishman up his game at the Spanish capital.
The slow nature of La Liga
It can obviously be argued that La Liga is one of the most technical leagues in the world. One which prioritizes match fluidity, positional awareness, astute passing game and ball retention over anything else.
Unlike in England and Germany, the tempo is reduced in Spain and clubs prioritize a much more tactical build-up with rapt concentration on defensive mechanisms of rivals. This breach in focus is often exploited by outside-the-box thinkers and super talented players like Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc.
Fortunately, Bellingham has proven lately to be a player under this list. One who can envision the forthcoming steps of his rivals as well as their responsive time to attacks and defenders focus. These traits were also found in the likes of Luis Suarez, Antoinne Griezmann, Aritz Aduriz, Iago Aspas, Iñaki Williams, Isaac Palazón, Diego Forlán, Radamel Falcao and Andres Iniesta among others at some points in their careers.
Having experienced the temperaments of high-paced football in England and Germany, it could be easily expected that a player of his reputation and talent swiftly devices an adopted pattern to counter the defensive organization of the opponents.
Carlo Ancelotti’s influence
As much as the abilities of the player must be praised, the contributions of the manager to his blistering form must not be understated. Ancelotti bolstered his star-studded squad in the summer of 2023 with another impressive signing involving Bellingham for a fee of €103 million.
This deal emerged after French striker, Kylian Mbappé famously snubbed Real Madrid’s transfer offers multiple times. However, Bellingham’s arrival has left no room for regrets at Los Blancos as his presence has restored the drive the manager was demanding.
Already proving that there’s more to his game than just serving as pivotal transitional link between defense and attack, Bellingham is the current top scorer with 13 goals so far in La Liga. This of course is down to Ancelotti’s confidence in liberating his exploitative traits.
Including his ability to drive into spaces, take long range shots, distract the rivals and take on many attacking challenges. Devoid of how minimal it may seem, his manager’s belief in his potential to replace veteran midfielders, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos has yielded profits while instilling confidence in the player.
A goal celebration
As menial as this may sound, goal celebrations can also influence player performances. However, this can only be triggered by the fans and will most times demand beyond the expected outputs from the players.
Cristiano Ronaldo is famous for creating arguably the most iconic goal celebration in football – ‘Suiiii’. Many other players like Mario Balotelli, Mbappé, Eden Hazard, Luis Suárez, Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Memphis Depay, Mesut Özil, Marcus Rashford among others are popular amidst a list of players who have created iconic goal celebrations.
Often times, meanings are deduced from goal celebrations by the fans and their approval could go a long way for players – relaying in them a sense of wanting to hit the net and subsequently, their icing on the cake.
Rashford was a notable example of this last season. Discovering a new drive that allowed him play at his best was his celebration that talked about mentality. Demonstrated by placing his right index finger horizontally to the side of his head and his eyes closed (sometimes), indicating calm and precise.
This helped him garner a string of excellent performances as he found the back of the net 30 times and set up his teammates 11 times in 56 matches last season.
Bellingham may have also discovered his own key to consistent success as every time he has scored this season, he looks into the crowd, lifts and spreads his arms before nodding in affirmation to the goal. Indicating his authoritative stance over any rival he has scored against this season.
Definitely, with a frightful mentality and an unquenchable thirst for aced performances in as many matches as possible, more is to be expected of the ‘Golden Boy’. No wonder pundits have begun to include his name in a possible list of potential Ballon d’Or winners in the coming season and with stats like these, only time will tell before he gets his hands on the biggest individual prize in the sport.