It is official. Real Madrid sensation Jude Bellingham has won he 2023 Kopa Trophy at the Ballon d’Or Gala in Paris today.
The 20-year-old midfield sensation, who joined Real Madrid during the summer, has enjoyed a year to remember.
From starring for England at the FIFA World Cup 2022, to dragging Borussia Dortmund to the brink of the Bundesliga title win and now putting up match-winning performances one after the other for Madrid, Bellingham has established himself as one of the best in the business.
And, his achievements have now been recognised with the awarding of the Kopa Trophy, handed out to the best Under-21 footballer.
In the last two years, it was Barcelona’s Pedri and Gavi who had taken home the prestigious award and Bellingham has broken that streak and has brought the award to the Spanish capital.
None other than former Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard was chosen to hand the award to Bellingham.
Rasmus Hojlund (Manchester United), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Alejandro Balde (Barcelona), Pedri (Barcelona), Antonio Silva (Benfica), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig), Gavi (Barcelona), and Elye Wahi (Lens) were the other nominees.
But it is Bellingham who has prevailed and won the Kopa Trophy, while the Englishman also finished 18th in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Official: Real Madrid starting lineup against Napoli | UCL GW 5
Real Madrid are back in the Champions League following their impressive win against Cadiz on the weekend as they host Napoli at the Santiago Bernabeu for gameweek five.
They have already secured qualification to the round of 16, and even a point today would secure first place in the group.
With several players still injured, Carlo Ancelotti has opted for his best available starting lineup, with Daniel Carvajal taking responsibility of the captain’s armband at right-back. He will be aided by Ferland Mendy, who starts on the other side.
Meanwhile, in between them, David Alaba returns to the fold as the starting centre-back, partnering Antonio Rudiger. This duo has the responsibility of screening Andriy Lunin, who continues in goal in Kepa and Thibaut Courtois’ absence.
With both Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni out, Toni Kroos gets the chance to play as the holding midfielder for two games in a row. Federico Valverde retains his spot, as well, while Dani Ceballos comes in for the injured Luka Modric in central midfield.
Rodrygo will spearhead the team’s frontline as one of the two twin forwards, while Brahim Diaz gets the nod over Joselu. Jude Bellingham is the final, and arguably the most important piece of the puzzle, playing behind the front-two.
Confirmed Madrid XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Kroos, Ceballos; Bellingham; Diaz, Rodrygo