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Real Madrid legend hails ‘fantastic’ Bellingham, says Mbappe is the ‘best in the world’

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid possesses a long line of legends, yet Luis Figo holds a unique and cherished place in the hearts of many Madridistas, having made a historic transition from Barcelona to don the iconic white jersey.

Figo won the 2001 La Liga championship in his debut season with Real Madrid after tallying 14 goals across all competitions.

The Ballon d’Or winner went on to win another La Liga trophy and even bagged a Champions League in the Spanish capital.

Speaking to GOAL, the Portuguese icon touched upon the club of his dreams and praised the current superstar Jude Bellingham and potential summer signing Kylian Mbappe.

Praise for Jude Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe

Bellingham has been a revelation for Real Madrid this season, seamlessly adapting to the club, having made the jump from Borussia Dortmund.

Figo waxed lyrical about the young Englishman, claiming his quality was never in doubt but the speed at which he adapted in the Spanish capital has been incredible.

“His performances and ability to adapt, [I’ve been] very surprised, because he’s adapted so fast. I’m not surprised about his quality because I already knew [that] from Dortmund and England.

“But to perform at a big club like Real Madrid is totally different, because of adapting to the pressure,” Figo exclaimed.

“You always have pressure at the highest level because you have to perform – even more so when you cost so much,” he added.

“But I think he is showing so much maturity because he’s so young and he’s doing fantastic. So in that sense, he’s doing amazing. Compliments to him,” the 51-year-old concluded.

Lastly, he affirmed that Real Madrid would benefit tremendously by signing Kylian Mbappe: “Everyone wants to have a player like Mbappe because he decides games. I think he’s the best [in the world] in terms of his skills and quality.”

Figo thinks the world of Bellingham and Mbappe. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images for Laureus)

Appreciation for the city of Madrid

When asked why Figo chose to retire in Real Madrid, he answered his positive experience in the city led him to shift here permanently.

 “I like Madrid a lot. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years. I decided to come back because I was building my house when I left, it was a family decision. I’m very happy with the way the people receive me, and the city too,” he said.

Thoughts on Champions League this year

Real Madrid will shortly play Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals and will look to avenge last season’s defeat by going all the way.

Figo acknowledged that the games will be enjoyable to watch due to the presence of several big teams, pointing out that the final could also present some surprises.

“We are heading for a round with all the big ‘sharks’, so I think they will be very nice games to watch,” he said.

“For sure there will be two big clubs in the final that will fight for the cup. It’s difficult to say [who will be in the final] because Real Madrid have a big history, Man City are strong.

“Surprises can always happen, like Inter being in the final last year. We have to wait a bit, but for sure there are a lot of big games coming,” Figo remarked.

On winning the Champions League with Real Madrid

In the 2002 final at Hampden Park, Luis Figo played a pivotal role as Real Madrid clinched their ninth European trophy with a 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Talking about what it meant for him to lift the iconic trophy, he stated it was a childhood wish being fulfilled.

When I started playing football it was called the European Cup, and when I was a kid I always watched it on TV and followed the big names.

“I always dreamed of one day having the chance to win in the final. In the end, when you get it, it’s like a dream come true,” the former midfielder claimed.

Giving his roses to Zinedine Zidane who sealed victory with an iconic volley, Figo mentioned that the goal holds a special place in his heart due to the enormous occasion.

“You can score this [type of] goal once in your life, but doing it in the final of the UEFA Champions League, the meaning is triple. It was perfect.”

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid still waiting to see the best version of 24-year-old midfielder

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has been at Real Madrid since 2023 but the Frenchman still hasn’t convinced the club’s hierarchy entirely, reports MARCA.

At just 24 years old, Tchouameni was signed for a staggering €80 million, a fee that could rise to €100 million with additional bonuses. This substantial investment reflects the high hopes that Real Madrid had for him, but so far, he has not lived up to those expectations.

Upon his arrival, the young midfielder’s potential sparked a fierce bidding war two seasons ago, with several top clubs vying for his signature. 

Ultimately, Tchouameni chose Real Madrid, but not before the club shelled out a considerable amount of money to secure his services.

A valiant effort to replace Casemiro

Initially, Tchouameni was brought in as a replacement for the legendary Casemiro. However, he has struggled to fill those big shoes and his performances have been inconsistent, with moments of brilliance interspersed with matches where he fails to make a significant impact. 

While he possesses excellent technical skills, his creativity and ability to influence the game are often questioned. As a result, he has yet to win over the Real Madrid fans.

One of Tchouameni’s strengths is his age. At 24, he still has plenty of room to grow and improve. He understands the high standards that Real Madrid demand from the players and is committed to reaching that level. 

Real Madrid still have hope

Aurelien Tchouameni hasn’t convinced the Real Madrid board entirely. (Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images)

The club hopes that he will continue to develop and eventually become a leader in the midfield, especially in the absence of veterans like Toni Kroos. 

However, for this to happen, Tchouameni needs to step up and take charge on the field, asserting himself as a player his teammates can rely on.

Tchouameni’s reserved playing style has even caused coach Carlo Ancelotti to doubt whether he is the right fit for the midfield. As a result, the Italian has considered shifting him to a centre-back position due to his aerial ability and strong positioning. 

When called upon to fill in for injured players like David Alaba and Eder Militao, Tchouameni has performed admirably. In fact, Ancelotti once also chose him over Nacho.

Injuries have not helped his case

It must be noted that injuries have plagued Tchouameni’s time at Real Madrid, causing him to miss 20% of the matches since joining the team. 

Additionally, Ancelotti has kept him on the bench for another 20% of the games over the past two seasons. This means that Tchouameni has been a starter in only 55% of the matches under Ancelotti’s management. 

His absences have gone largely unnoticed, as he missed four of the six Champions League group matches and the final, having little impact on the team’s overall performance.

In summary, Tchouameni remains a work in progress at Real Madrid. His potential is undeniable, but he has yet to fully realize it on the field. 

With time on his side and a clear understanding of what is expected of him, the hope is that he will eventually rise to the challenge and become a key player for the team. Until then, Tchouameni’s journey at Real Madrid continues to be one of promise and uncertainty.

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