It’s difficult to imagine that Jude Bellingham‘s performances have prompted both fans and commentators to really examine the headline question you just read, less than four months after his big-money move to Real Madrid.
His ten goals and three assists in only ten games, including three goals in two Champions League games, have already made him a fan favorite at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid’s transfer policy is basic. Their position as the world’s largest and most successful club helps them to recruit the greatest and most promising players. However, as we have seen with Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, this does not always work out.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player that comes to mind, but Bellingham’s six goals and two assists in his first seven La Liga games, before he scored twice against Osasuna, outperformed Ronaldo’s six goals and one assist following his then-record transfer from Manchester United.
Being a Galactico might be difficult, but some players thrive under pressure, and performing on the grandest platform only improves their performances. This is evident in Bellingham, who is taking his game to new heights with each passing game.
The former Borussia Dortmund player was without a doubt one of the finest in the world before his transfer, but Bellingham was also anticipated to need some time to adjust to a new league in a strange nation with new teammates who speak a different language.
However, it is difficult to recall a player who had a better start in the Spanish capital following a high-profile transfer.
Bellingham is performing so well, why?
By their standards, Madrid had a poor season last year. While trying to gradually shift away from the seasoned pair of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, manager Carlo Ancelotti failed to find the appropriate balance in the midfield.
They also unintentionally lost their talisman Karim Benzema to the riches of the Saudi Pro League at the beginning of this season. Bellingham was their sole significant acquisition of the window since the anticipated acquisition of Mbappe did not occur.
When asked if he had considered acquiring Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, Ancelotti replied, “No, because I believe the club thought it could get over Benzema’s absence by signing Bellingham.” The absence of a great striker was concerning.
That was a bold claim, but the Italian strategist used a new 4-4-2 diamond formation to let Real’s young midfield star perform to his full potential. For the 20-year-old, who had previously played in a far deeper position for Borussia Dortmund, this would entail a role shift.
Bellingham’s current role as a player in midfield and attack transitions. This is a challenging skill to learn, but because to his extraordinary spatial awareness, he always seeks to take advantage of the environment, whether it is under his control or not.
Additionally, the England international combines the vision, dribbling, and work rate of a midfielder with the body and shooting skills of a striker.
He can therefore act as a playmaker between the lines and even enter the penalty area to score goals. The data confirms this modification.
In comparison to his final season at Dortmund, his final third catches have increased from 11.1 to 17.6 per 90 minutes due to the higher position he is currently occupying on the field. This is due to the Englishman’s lessened build-up duties and increased responsibility for receiving passes and converting them into goals and assists.
Additionally, you can observe that while his chance creation passes have increased from 11.7 to 18.2 per 90, his build-up passes have decreased from 36.2 to 26.6 per 90.
In addition, his anticipated goal (xG) number has impressively increased from 0.24 per 90 last season to 0.54 this season. He is currently placing himself in riskier situations and firing twice as many close-range shots.
It will be fascinating to observe how Bellingham develops as we watch a gifted young athlete turn into maybe something that has never been seen before.
To be the best player in the world, you must consistently provide outstanding performances throughout the week without missing a beat.
It is still early days, but so far, the signs are very, very promising.
Transfer value for Jude Bellingham: What is his current market value?
Our player valuation model places Bellinhgham as the third most valuable player in the world with a current Expected Transfer Value (xTV) of €125.3 million.
Only Kylian Mbappe (worth €136.2 million) and Erling Haaland (worth €141 million) are worth more.
Bellingham’s xTV was comparable to Madrid’s original €103 million investment at the time of his transfer, but his worth has subsequently increased by nearly €20 million.
Given that Bellingham is one of the most expensive players of all time, it is weird to refer to him as a bargain. But given that his prime years are still ahead of him, it increasingly appears that this is the case.