Jude Bellingham named Bundesliga Player of the Season for 2022/23


After a stand-out campaign to remember, Borussia Dortmund's magnificent midfielder Jude Bellingham has been voted the Bundesliga Player of the Season for 2022/23.

Bellingham’s season may not have ended as he would have wanted, but he still enjoyed a fantastic year. His performances are worthy of recognition, which is why he's been voted the best player in the official Bundesliga Team of the Season and therefore takes the crown of Player of the Season.

Dortmund’s season ended on a sour note as, needing only a win against Mainz during the final matchday to secure the Meisterschale, Die Schwarzgelben could only manage a 2-2 draw. Bayern Munich’s 2-1 triumph away at Cologne, therefore, meant the Bavarians clinched the title for an 11th consecutive campaign.

While Dortmund allowed a marvellous opportunity to slip from their grasp, the absence of Bellingham for the all-important clash was certainly felt. The England international may still be just 19 years of age, but he possesses leadership skills beyond his years – he has already worn the captain’s armband from the start on two occasions this term, becoming Dortmund’s youngest-ever skipper in the process, and worn it many more times during games. He also started all but three of his team’s 34 Bundesliga fixtures as they ultimately finished in second place.

Watch: Dortmund fell at the last hurdle on the final day

His talent has been obvious for all to see ever since making the switch to Germany from Birmingham City in 2019 but, although he has gone from strength to strength with each passing campaign, he has blossomed into arguably his team’s most influential player this time around.

From the very first matchday in August, he has shown the full extent of his ability. His athleticism has made him one of the most physically imposing players in the division – not only does he feature in the division’s top 10 for sprints (861) and intensive runs (2473), but he has covered more distance (322 km) than any of his teammates, while the 482 duels he has won are a league high.

It is in the final third, though, where Bellingham has progressed the most. Only 10 players registered more shots than his 65, with those efforts leading to eight goals - that is more than double his highest previous league tally, and three more than he managed in the top flight last season.

Watch: How Bellingham always wins the ball

In some matches, the teenager has been simply unplayable. Wolfsburg pose plenty of threat, but they could not deal with Bellingham as he scored twice in Dortmund’s 6-0 rout of the Wolves on Matchday 31, while he found the back of the net and also provided an assist in his side’s narrow 4-3 victory over Augsburg.

While the Ruhr-based outfit were unable to clinch top spot, Bellingham has still contributed to a positive campaign. Only once in the previous seven Bundesliga seasons have Dortmund managed more than this term’s 71 points, and they racked up more than 80 league goals for the fourth time in five years.

Head coach Edin Terzic, who called Bellingham “outstanding” as far back as 2021 when the midfielder was just 17 years of age, has been glowing in his appraisal of his star performer. “He has no limits,” he said earlier this year adding that he is “the oldest 19-year-old in the world”.

He is just one of a number of big names within the sport to have praised the youngster, with Jürgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti just some of those to have expressed just how talented they believe BVB’s number 22 to be.

Watch: Bellingham, the all-round midfielder

It is a commonly known story that the reason behind Bellingham’s liking for the No. 22 shirt is because his coach at Birmingham City saw him as a player with the skillset to play as a 10, as an eight and as a four. Add all of those digits up, and you have the number printed on the back of many a Dortmund fan’s Black-and-Yellow shirt. It is no exaggeration to say that, this season, Bellingham has shown flashes of the characteristics of some iconic players to have worn those numbers: the grace of a forward moving Zinedine Zidane, for example, or the tough tackling and determination of a Steven Gerrard or Patrick Vieira.

Like those aforementioned legends, Bellingham is also unafraid to voice his opinion to teammates almost twice his age and has since remoulded that burning desire for those around him to follow his never say die attitude into a force for positive encouragement. It meant it was almost no surprise when the boy from Birmingham was named the club's third captain behind legends Marco Reus and Mats Hummels, an honour that appeared to hasten his already impressive evolution.

“Every year or half year that I've played at the club, my responsibility in the team has increased,” he explained. “I have to continue to be everywhere on the pitch and try my best to contribute going forwards and backwards and try and control games, try to dominate the midfield."

"My teammates, the coaches and the staff have helped me to develop,” Bellingham continued. “I came to the club as a talented lad, but I have added elements to my game that have taken it to the next level and I think that's down to them, mainly.

Watch: The best of Bellingham in 2022/23

"I've put the work in, but it's them that have put me in the environment to make it happen. They've added a kind of leadership side to my game too," he added. "I want my teammates to see that I’m always doing everything I can to make sure we win. If we lose a game, I'm the worst person.”

There's very little that can make up for Dortmund's gut-wrenching title defeat on the final day. Perhaps it would've all ended differently had a knee problem not held him up and he would've added the Bundesliga title to the 2020/21 DFB Cup he'd already won in Black and Yellow.

The Player of the Season award is yet another individual accolade to underline just how special Bellingham is on the field. There's no doubt that the teenager - and yes, he is still only 19 until the end of June 2023 - is destined for greatness in the footballing world.