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Bellingham asked for two specific jersey numbers at Real Madrid, but both taken

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid have officially completed a move for Jude Bellingham for a total of €103 million in fixed transfer fee, plus €30 million in variables depending on the team and the Englishman’s performances over the course of the season.

This transfer makes Bellingham the second most expensive player in Real Madrid history after Eden Hazard, who signed for nearly €120 million in the summer of 2018.

The Spanish giants have been in talks with Dortmund and Bellingham over a long time, and convinced both parties by agreeing to their demands, including the fees, wages, and personal terms from the youngster.

One of Bellingham’s personal demands was related to his jersey number of choice, according to a report by Cadena SER.

He wanted to take one of #22 or #5 at Madrid. Unfortunately, though, both numbers are currently occupied by centre-backs in the team. Antonio Rudiger signed on a free agent last summer and took up #22, while Jesus Vallejo has been wearing the #5.

Neither of the two are starters for Carlo Ancelotti, with Eder Militao (#3), and David Alaba (#4) guarding the fort.

Bellingham is used to wearing #22 for Dortmund and the England national team, but he has also worn the #23, #10 #8 for the latter. Those numbers are also occupied, though, by Ferland Mendy, Luka Modric Toni Kroos, respectively.

That said, there will be multiple numbers free for Bellingham. Four players have already left the team, including Karim Benzema (#9), Eden Hazard (#7), Marco Asensio (#11), and Mariano Diaz (#24).

Reports have stated that Madrid are looking to give Bellingham the #7, as it has been a historic kit number for them. Cristiano Ronaldo wore it during his incredible tenure at Santiago Bernabeu, succeeding the legendary Raul.

While it has not seen worthy successors since, in Mariano and Hazard, it still remains one of the most valuable kits in Madrid history. Further, giving it to their blockbuster €100 million+ signing would definitely help jersey sales.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti’s dilemma: How will he handle a fully fit defense next season?

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to face a challenging situation in restructuring his defence for the upcoming season and that is largely down to key players like David Alaba and Eder Militao are returning to full fitness. 

Interestingly, this situation might put Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the starting lineup under significant pressure.

Back when Rudiger joined Real Madrid he was supposed to strengthen a defence already featuring Alaba and Militao. Despite their young age, these two had firmly established themselves in the team. 

Over the past two years, however, Ancelotti has consistently relied on the duo, with Rudiger and Nacho serving as their main substitutes. 

A big decision awaits Ancelotti

As the new season approaches, Ancelotti faces a dilemma similar to the one he had with goalkeepers Andriy Lunin and Thibaut Courtois. A similar situation is likely to unfold with Rudiger and Militao vying for the right centre-back position.

It must be remembered that Militao suffered an untimely injury last season, prompting Ancelotti to choose Rudiger over Nacho, who, although right-footed, is also adept on the left side. 

Carlo Ancelotti needs to assess his defensive duo for next season. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

As the season progressed, Rudiger proved his worth, becoming a mainstay in the defense. His physical strength, bravery, and aerial prowess made him a reliable choice. 

His ability to play out from the back earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, overshadowing Militao’s absence.

Rudiger’s importance has grown

Rudiger’s importance grew further when Alaba got injured in December. He became the cornerstone of the defence, often partnering with Nacho or Aurelien Tchouameni. Even when Rudiger played on the left side, the defensive structure remained solid.

When Militao returned in the last month and a half of the season, he struggled to regain his previous form. The long recovery period left emotional scars, and he was not the same player he had been before the injury. 

Consequently, Ancelotti opted to keep Rudiger in the lineup for crucial matches towards the end of the season.

With the new season on the horizon, Rudiger’s strong performances will present a significant challenge for Ancelotti. 

As Alaba also returns from injury, Ancelotti will have to decide who among Rudiger, Militao, and Alaba will be benched. 

Rudiger has proven his capability, often outperforming the Brazilian, whose post-injury form is still uncertain. 

Adding to the competition, Real Madrid might sign Leni Yoro and even Rafa Marin could return from his loan spell which could further complicate Ancelotti’s decisions.

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