No stopping Jude Bellingham rise as Real Madrid and England star enjoys week to remember

Midfielder continues stunning start to season with man-of-the-match show in clasico followed by world's best player award at Ballon d'Or ceremony

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It is a celebration that has already become very familiar to supporters from teams across La Liga; Jude Bellingham standing perfectly still, looking out towards the stands, arms outstretched and nodding his head with a look of cool, calm confidence.

Barcelona fans were the latest to become first-hand witnesses, at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday, as Bellingham scored a 92nd-minute winner for arch-rivals Real Madrid in the season's opening clasico.

It was a simple close-range finish after substitute Luka Modric had fortuitously deflected a Dani Carvajal cross from the right straight into his teammate's path.

If Bellingham's second goal of the game enjoyed a touch of luck in its build-up, his first – that levelled the scores in the second half after Ilkay Gundogan had put Barca into an early lead – summed up the midfielder's meteoric start to life at Madrid.

The summer signing from Borussia Dortmund picked up possession around 30 metres from goal before taking a touch and blasting the ball like a missile past a helpless Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barca goal. It was the 20-year-old's 13th goal in 13 games for Los Blancos. He has also supplied three assists.

“I’ve just phoned home,” Bellingham said after the game. “It was hard to hear them with all the noise, but there was a bit of emotion thinking about all the times I watched this game on the sofa with my brother, my parents. I said it was my turn to experience it, to make an impression.”

And what an impression it was. “He was stupendous,” admitted Real manager Carlo Ancelotti. “He looks like a veteran out there because of his attitude. His first goal changed the dynamic completely of what was a difficult game for us.

“I can't deny that we are all surprised with his vein of form, especially with his level and his effectiveness. He is everywhere on the field.”

Just two days later in Paris, while Argentine great Lionel Messi was winning record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or award after securing the first World Cup of his storied career last December, Bellingham's ever-improving skills were receiving their own recognition.

The England international lifted the Kopa Trophy after being named the world's best player aged under 21, following his 14 goals in 42 games for Dortmund last season and helping the Three Lions reach the World Cup quarter-finals in Qatar.

Bellingham beat teammate Eduardo Camavinga, Bayern Munich's Jamal Musiala and Barca duo Gavi and Pedri to the award. “It is an honour to be in front of some of the best players in the world here and some of the best to have ever played the game,” said the former Birmingham City player.

“To win this trophy means a lot but for me the important thing is team trophies and the important thing for me is to kick on and help Real Madrid and England win trophies for many years.”

And the signs are looking good for both club and country. Having missed out on the title to Xavi Hernandez's Barca last season, Real now top the table after 11 games thanks to that clasico victory.

The squad appears to have a perfect mix of exciting young talent – including Bellingham, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior – and experienced heads – Modric, David Alaba and Tony Kroos – all under the tutelage of four-time European Cup-winning coach Ancelotti.

The signs are also looking good for England who are safely qualified for next year's Euro 2024, with Gareth Southgate having guided his team to the semi-finals, final and last eight in his three major tournaments in charge.

They currently sit unbeaten at the top of their qualifying table having won five out of six games in a tricky Group C that also contains Ukraine and Italy – with England having completed an impressive home and away double over the Azzuri.

Captain Harry Kane should be leading the line having started his Bayern Munich career in similar sparkling fashion to Bellingham's in Spain, with the striker scoring 12 goals in nine Bundesliga games since his move from Tottenham Hotspur. And any team containing the likes of John Stones, Declan Rice, Phil Foden, Bellingham and Kane has to be considered one of the favourites to lift the trophy in Berlin next July.

Leading that bid will be Bellingham. “His mentality is incredible,” Southgate said after beating Italy Wembley earlier this month. “For someone of his age to show such maturity and intelligence is unbelievable. We are lucky to have him.”

And such is the trajectory he is on, it would be no surprise if it is Bellingham on stage this time next year with the first of many Ballon d'Or' trophies in his hands after enjoying a historic season for Real and England.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 10:26 AM