Just over a month into the 2023/24 season, Jude Bellingham is already the toast of the town in Madrid.
Indeed, the 20-year-old midfield prodigy has made a sensational start to life as a Real Madrid player and the story continued last night on his UEFA Champions League debut for the club.
With the game against Union Berlin seemingly headed towards a draw, Bellingham found himself in the right place at the right time to turn home a late winner in stoppage time and send the Santiago Bernabeu into a state of frenzy.
The England international is making it a habit of scoring late winners for Real Madrid and is basking in all the admiration that is coming his way.
Following yet another match-winning performance, which led to him being named the MVP of the game, Bellingham spoke to the club’s media and said:
“It was a good win. It was a tough match, they were very well-organised at the back. It was frustrating at times, but we knew we had to keep insisting and try to find those gaps.
“We missed a lot of chances, but in the end, I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to score.”
On his dream start to life at Real Madrid with six goals in six games, Bellingham said: “I am very happy. Every day I am very grateful to be here. I come with a smile on my face, happy to learn from my teammates and to keep winning. Winning is the most important objective here.”
“I didn’t expect a start like this. I was confident in doing things well and, so far, it’s going very well. I’ve got my feet firmly on the ground and I’m calm. I hope it continues like this,” he later added.
The 20-year-old sensation also opened up on the goal he scored last night to win it for Los Blancos against Union Berlin, saying:
“I thought I had to follow the ball, just like against Getafe. They’re not aesthetic goals, but you have to be there to score them. Now it’s my turn to take advantage of those moves, but we’re a team and we help each other with the moves. That’s key.”
Talking about the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu on a Champions League night, Bellingham could not hide his joy at experiencing it as he said:
“It’s the best. I thought La Liga was going really well until I heard the noise after the goal. I’m crazy about the support of the fans. You don’t know how big this club is until you are part of it. Hopefully, I’ll be here for many years to come.”
Signing off, he had a few words about Real Madrid’s start to the season, with six wins in six games across all competitions, saying:
“It’s the most important thing. At the beginning of the season, we would have signed it. We have to maintain this level and carry this rhythm into the next game. We all have to continue with this level of play because we have a lot of games ahead of us.”
Real Madrid youngster in line for significant minutes against Granada – report
Nico Paz was long hyped as Real Madrid Castilla’s brightest upcoming star. The media constantly kept the spotlight on the young Argentine through pre-season as he made a strong impression under Carlo Ancelotti in preseason.
His breakthrough eventually arrived, courtesy of Real Madrid’s injury crisis. He has now made two appearances for the team in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League and even recorded his first goal for the club earlier this week against Napoli.
Taking his chances
As revealed by AS (h/t The Madrid Zone), Paz has impressed management with his cameo against Napoli and will be called up for Real Madrid’s clash against Granada tomorrow.
In fact, there is a good chance he sees significant game time on the night.
After all, Ancelotti is without the likes of Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga in the middle of the park.
With Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos, Federico Valverde, and Jude Bellingham filling the starting spots, Paz serves as the manager’s first-choice backup off the bench.
Paz voices his elation
Paz’s introduction against Napoli changed the texture of the game, and it was only poetic that he got the goal that put Real Madrid ahead again on the night.
Speaking to the media after his special night, the Castilla star did not hold back on his emotions.
“This is a dream. For a moment I didn’t even believe it. Very happy to be able to help the team. I dared. I was in automatic mode, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I hit it and well.”
“This is also a message for the other youth players: it is possible to get there. Ancelotti congratulated me, and the whole staff. They are an incredible group and I want to thank them all,” he added, urging his Castilla teammates to keep pushing.