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‘Impact on the team’ – Bellingham outlines his game-plan for Manchester City vs Real Madrid

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Photo via Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium for the second-leg of the Champions League quarter-finals tomorrow. With the game standing at 3-3 after that first game at the Santiago Bernabeu, the final result could swing either side.

During the first-leg, City were able to do what most teams have not been able to this season, which is keeping Jude Bellingham quiet.

Not only was the Englishman not on the scoresheet, but his overall impact was controlled, too as he walked away with zero chances created.

Ahead of the second leg, Bellingham seemed confident about the matchup, and spoke to the media as part of the pre-game press conference.

Bellingham excited about the game

First and foremost, Bellingham addressed his own feelings ahead of the game, admitting, “Good evening everyone, I’m a little nervous about tomorrow, but I’m ready for it. These are Real Madrid matches, and I’m excited for the kick-off to arrive.”

“That’s the feeling from the outside. I’m not betting, so I don’t know who the favorite is, but I know we’re Real Madrid, and the rest is just outside noise,” he added talking about the fact that City have been deemed favourites for the game.

Bellingham’s move to Madrid did raise a few question marks initially, especially about his fit into the team. He has responded brilliantly, though, and is among the best players in Europe, if not the best.

Speaking about his adaption, he said, “I’m grateful every day to wear this shirt, it’s amazing, I’ll never get tired of it. I’ve been at Dortmund for four years, which is not normal for a young Englishman, but I’ve gained experience that has made me strong. Also to my parents and to my fans I would recommend young English people to work abroad.”

A large part of his plaudits this season has been him finding the back of the net multiple times, and coming up clutch during important moments. Already at 20 goals, he is not worried about scoring.

“I would be worried if scoring goals didn’t mean the team didn’t win. But as long as we win, I’ll be comfortable. My game is more than just scoring goals, which is something you can see in my performance.”

“Of course I want to score, I love it, but I understand that I can have a greater impact on the game in another way. I didn’t expect to score this many goals, but now I want more. I don’t want to set a number for myself either. They asked me the same question before and I said I wanted to score one goal, but now I have 20 indeed.”

And as for his prediction for his own performance tomorrow, Bellingham said, “I hope the team wins, that’s the priority and the rest doesn’t matter. I hope I play good football, and if I can shine, that’s great.”

I’m thinking about having an impact on the team, by helping offensively and defensively. It will be very difficult, but we are a great team, we are ready and we have to show it.”

Which Englishman will step up tomorrow? (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Bellingham was also quizzed about Madrid’s 4-0 defeat at the Etihad last season in the Champions League semi-finals, and how that would impact the morale of the squad.

“I spoke to the people who were present and they told me that it was very difficult, of course. I also suffered big defeats, so I understand the frustration, but you have to calm that feeling, and understand that this is a new match, and we will not start late.”

He went on to talk about Man City’s squad and tactics, and what makes them a dangerous team.

“They are unpredictable. You look at one player and the other 10, they give you problems. It doesn’t make sense to think individually, it’s to work as a team. We are ready and we will have to make some adjustments, but we must always stay true to our identity,” the 20-year-old replied.

On Tchouameni, Valencia controversy, and Man City links

During Madrid’s 0-1 win over Mallorca on the weekend, Aurelien Tchouameni was the subject of racist insults and abuse from the home crowd after his goal. Bellingham was asked to comment on that.

“We don’t really think about it. You’re so used to these things happening that sometimes you don’t even care about them. This is a big problem and more needs to be done to stop it. We must respond strongly to anything we encounter.”

“This should never happen. With Vinicius or anyone, it is not normal. More efforts must be made to protect people. No one deserves this kind of abuse, and I call on everyone to stand up against this,” he added.

One moment that has stood out this season, apart from Bellingham’s incredible goal contributions, is his last-minute disallowed goal against Valencia in the league where the referee blew the whistle while the play was still on.

When asked whether that game had any impact on his morale and momentum, Bellingham said, “I started very well, until January came. What slowed me down was the injury. I played a lot of games and overcame huge discomfort. And when I came back, in Valencia, I scored a great goal and they punished me.”

“Maybe it affected my competitive rhythm, because I was always playing and suddenly I stopped in recent months, I also changed my position somewhat, working more for the team, which is important for me, I accept that I will work to get back to my best version. I don’t care about criticism. The key is how you respond to those who criticize you.”

Finally, Bellingham was asked about his move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, and whether he was close to joining Manchester City before deciding on Madrid.

“I spoke to several clubs, on the advice of my family, because it is difficult to process a lot of information in the middle of the season. But once Real Madrid called me, I didn’t have to think twice, that’s why I came.”

Source: MARCA

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid superstar reveals how advice from Brazil legend helped him improve

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Even with all the excitement around Kylian Mbappe, it is Vinicius Junior, who continues to be Real Madrid’s biggest star.

In the past few years, the Brazilian has witnessed substantial growth, notably establishing himself as one of the best players in world football.

Vinicius’ rapid rise to prominence has been backed by numbers as well, with the forward racking up 82 goals and 75 assists in 262 competitive matches for Real Madrid.

Vinicius on receiving advice from Ronaldo

In a recent media interaction, Vinicius Junior, when talking about his success at Real Madrid, revealed that the forward constantly receives advice from his compatriot and former Real Madrid legend Ronaldo.

Vinicius particularly pointed out Ronaldo’s advice in 1v1 situations and how it has helped him improve in such scenarios.

“Ronaldo always calls me and gives me advice, he teaches me so many things. Since he told me that his favourite thing is a 1v1 vs a GK, I thought about it a lot and started working on it really hard,” Vinicius said (h/t Madrid Zone).

Ronaldo regularly speaks with Vinicius. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“Now, every time I’m in a 1v1 with a GK, I’m the calmest guy in the world. Ever since that conversation with Ronaldo, I stopped being afraid of making mistakes in a 1v1,” the forward added.

Vinicius has indeed witnessed an improvement in his 1v1 play in recent years, which has been reflected in his higher goalscoring numbers.

This season, the forward has netted 23 goals in all competitions while racking up 11 assists. His goalscoring prowess, coupled with his ability in 1v1 situations could prove to be critical as Real Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final next month.

The Brazilian international, though, will be up against a challenging defensive duo of Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck, who have been able to keep the opposition attacks quiet this season.

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