Collymore: Jude Bellingham is nailed on for Ballon d’Or

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Jude Bellingham has certainly made his presence felt at Real Madrid this season.

At just 20 years of age and wearing the number made famous by Zinedine Zidane, the England international bowled into the Santiago Bernabeu like he owned the place.

Such confidence in one so young is extremely rare, and his 23 goals and 10 assists in all competitions for Los Blancos (WhoScored), that has included winning goals in El Clasico, shows just how important he has been for his new club.

His star has always been on the rise ever since he broke into the Birmingham City first team, and it isn’t just his skill set that’s immediately noticeable, but his immense stature and the way that he carries himself on and off the pitch.

Once that white jersey is on, Bellingham turns into a fierce warrior that will push through brick walls for his team.

Bellingham an easy pick for Ballon d’Or

Off the pitch, he comes across as a mild-mannered, thoughtful and intelligent young man who tends to steer away from the usual footballer cliches in interviews.

No wonder CaughtOffside columnist, Stan Collymore, couldn’t stop singing his praises in his exclusive column.

“I want the Ballon d’Or to be given on sporting merit, but it’s not. Or at least it hasn’t been for a while. I think we’ve got to a ridiculous situation where the Ballon d’Or has become a subjective decision given out because of the emotional attachment and which is always going to reward players that have been in the game for a long time. Think of the Oscars and a Lifetime Achievement Award… the Ballon d’Or should not be a Lifetime Achievement Award, it should be an ‘in the now’ achievement award,” he said.

“It needs a reset after the Messi and Ronaldo years, and now we’ve got the luxury of having Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Vini Jr., Phil Foden, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham… a number of quality younger players that are playing for big clubs and are doing the business.

Jude Bellingham is the favourite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

“What Bellingham is doing really is arguably the greatest achievement by an English player abroad and I say that going all the way back to the likes of John Charles who had a massive impact on Juventus, Denis Law, Jimmy Greaves, Liam Brady, Steve McManaman, David Beckham…

“Every week he’s been playing against the very best in the world and for a relative top-flight rookie to walk into that club with such confidence from day one is quite extraordinary. We’ve started to see him get forward that little bit more and score important goals, and he’s been the conduit for the rest of his team-mates at arguably the biggest club on the planet.

“He’s not the finished article by any means but show me another player that’s had a bigger impact on their club in terms of making them a consistent threat at home and abroad. You can’t find one. So it absolutely makes sense for him to be Ballon d’Or, and to do it at a club that can swallow you up and spit you out… I don’t think anybody else comes close this year.”

Those young players mentioned have all enjoyed great seasons, but surely even their achievements pale into comparison when compared to Bellingham’s at this stage.

Were he to go on and win the Champions League with Real Madrid and/or the European Championship with England, then there won’t be any comparison.

It would also seem to be only a matter of time before he is handed the armband at both club and international level which would be a just reward for the player’s professionalism and excellence.

Given that he is still effectively at the beginning of his career, one can only marvel at just how far Bellingham will go in his career.

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