Soccer lives precocious times. Barcelona have put themselves in the hands of Ansu Fati and Pedri to solve the delicate transition from Messi’s reign to what has to come. England, which has never stood out as an exporting power of footballers, discovered with amazement four years ago the emergence of Jadon Sancho, a boy who at 17 left Manchester City to go to Borussia Dortmund. Now he discovers even more astonishment the birth of what may be called to be his best midfielder in a long time. This is Jude Bellingham, a boy who has not yet turned 18 years old and who last year turned a deaf ear to the flirtations of Manchester United and also decided to head to Dortmund.
The son of a police sergeant in the West Midlands, in central England, the boy Jude became fond of football watching his father score goal after goal in the amateur leagues and entered the football academy when he was less than eight years old. Birmingham City. At 14 he was playing for the U18s and at 15 he scored a goal on the day of his debut for the U23 team. While still a schoolboy, Birmingham City gradually introduced him to the atmosphere of the first team and on August 6, 2019, when he was 16 years and 38 days old, he became the youngest player in the club’s history, beating for 101 days the record set in 1970 by the legendary Trevor Francis. A month later he became Birmingham City’s youngest goalscorer. In the January 2020 market, the club rejected an offer of 20 million pounds (23.2 million euros) from Manchester United. In November of that year, Jude Bellingham made his senior debut for England at the age of 17 years and 136 days, a precocity second only to Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney.
At that age, Bellingham could have gone to any Premier club and it has been written that he came to visit Manchester United’s facilities, but preferred to follow in Sancho’s footsteps and sign for Borussia Dortmund, who paid 25 million pounds for him. (29 million euros) last summer. Famous throughout Europe for his policy of giving opportunities to young people, there he has not only coincided with Sancho, but with the coveted Erling Haaland and another precocious player, the American Giovanni Reyna, who arrived at Borussia in January 2020 at the age of 17. . Reyna plays for the United States although she was born in England to a family of footballers, both her father (Claudio, a US international of Portuguese and Argentine descent) and her mother (Danielle Egan, also a US international and of Irish descent).
Tall (1.86m) and strong, Jude Bellingham moves well in any position in midfield and stands out for his physical ability and maturity, although statistics warn that he has to improve both in passing and shooting. His shortcomings at the time of shooting did not prevent him from scoring a phenomenal goal in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at Manchester City (2-1). The goal was erroneously annulled by the referee, who appreciated Bellingham’s previous foul. The repetitions made it clear that there had been no fault and that the goal should have gone up to the scoreboard, but the VAR could not correct the referee’s mess because the referee had had the occurrence of whistling before the ball entered the goal, so it was consider that that goal did not exist.
Last Wednesday, in the second leg (1-2), Bellingham reopened the scoring and this time there was no referee error. The goal rose to the scoreboard and for a while shook Pep Guardiola’s team, but City ended up scoring another two goals and leaving Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League semi-finals.