Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham developed into one of the finest talents in world football after moving to Germany. bundesliga.com profiles the 19-year-old midfielder, who will play for Real Madrid from the 2023/24 campaign...
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: England (24 caps/one goal)
A Birmingham City fan who joined the club at the age of seven, Bellingham has enjoyed a meteoric rise. He made his senior debut in an English League Cup game against Portsmouth in August 2019, becoming the youngest player ever to feature for the Blues. Aged just 16 years and 38 days, he broke a record set by Trevor Francis 49 years previously. Bellingham then become Birmingham's youngest ever goalscorer at the end of that month - taking another record held by club legend Francis - coming off the bench to net the winner against Stoke City on his home debut. The teenager soon proved his first goal was no fluke by starting and scoring in a win at Charlton Athletic two weeks later.
By the start of March 2020, Bellingham had played 31 league matches in England's tough-as-nails second-tier Championship, starting 24 games, scoring four goals, and registering two assists. He won the English Football League's Young Player of the Month award for November as a result of his performances, and in summer 2020 became the latest in a long line of teenage stars who see Dortmund as the perfect place to develop.
Watch: Bellingham leading Dortmund's charge for title glory
What a decision that has proved to be. Bellingham made history on his competitive debut for BVB as the greenest goalscorer in DFB Cup history, aged 17 years, two months and 16 days. He then notched an assist on the first of his 29 Bundesliga appearances during the 2020/21 campaign. When he faced Lazio on 20 October, at 17 years and 113 days, the Stourbridge native became the youngest Englishman to start a UEFA Champions League match, breaking the record previously set by Manchester City's Phil Foden.
Bellingham scored his first ever Bundesliga goal, on his 24th appearance, against VfB Stuttgart. Four days later, he wrote his name into the Champions League history books again with a wonderful strike against Manchester City. Only Bojan Krkic has scored in a Champions League knockout game at a younger age (17 years and 217 days against Schalke in 2008).
At a tender 17 years and 289 days old, the former Birmingham prodigy joined Youri Tielemans as one of only two players to have reached double figures for appearances in the Champions League before turning 18. He also became the youngest English national and Germany-based player to find the net in the competition.
Records and prizes kept coming the following season. In September 2021, Bellingham became the youngest Englishman to score away in the Champions League, aged 18 years and 78 days, providing a goal and an assist against Besiktas. He won the Bundesliga's Goal of the Month prize in October 2021 for a slaloming run and delightful finish in a win over Arminia Bielefeld, and in February 2022 became the second-youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances. Nominated for the Golden Boy award for a second year running, the teenager got three league goals and eight assists in 2021/22. In 2022/23, Bellingham has kicked on once again as Dortmund bid for the Bundesliga title; he was won the most challenges in the entire division and has contributed nine league goals (five goals, four assists) to the Dortmund cause.
Watch: Jude Bellingham's magical skills
Days before his 100th competitive appearance for Dortmund, Bellingham scored his fourth Champions League goal, the most ever by an English teenager in the competition, in a 2-1 loss to Man City. It was his 18th appearance in the Champions League, also a tournament record among Englishmen under 20. With a further four efforts in the 2022/23 group stage, he ranks as the youngest from his country to reach five tournament goals. He departs Dortmund with 132 appearances under his belt for the club.
Bellingham's blindingly bright start to life at the Signal Iduna Park hasn't gone unnoticed by England head coach Gareth Southgate, who handed him his senior international debut in a November 2020 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland. The Three Lions' third-youngest player made his full debut in a Euro 2020 warm-up win against Austria, before etching his name into the annals at the finals. The Dortmund midfielder replaced Harry Kane in the second half of the 1-0 win against Croatia on Matchday 1, briefly usurping the Netherlands' Jetro Willems as the tournament's youngest debutant. He also broke Michael Owen's record as the greenest player to represent England at a major tournament, aged 17 years and 349 days, as well as the tournament record for the youngest quarter-finalist, four days after turning 18.
The 19-year-old's sensational World Cup debut goal against Iran yielded another milestone - only Owen scored at a younger age at the finals.
Plays a bit like: Steven Gerrard
An athletic, box-to-box midfielder, the rangy Bellingham hardly looks like a teenager making his way in a man’s game - in January 2020, then Birmingham boss Pep Clotet even revealed that he had grown 2.4 centimetres since the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign. Bellingham eats up ground - whether in his defensive duties or while supporting the attack.
Having previously captained the England U17 team and more recently made history as Dortmund's youngest skipper, he has already played in several positions during his young career. But at the heart of the midfield action - where former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard thrived - is where Bellingham's future lies.
Watch: All Jude Bellingham's Bundesliga goals and assists
Did you know?
Bellingham's father Mark was not a bad footballer himself. A prolific goalscorer in English non-league football, Bellingham Sr. recorded more than 700 goals during a playing career that spanned over 20 years. Jude’s younger brother Jobe, meanwhile, is on the books of Birmingham.
What they're saying
"It's just unbelievable that a 19-year-old plays like him." - Dortmund coach Edin Terzic
"I cannot believe it, maybe he's a liar. He's so good for 17 years old, he's a fantastic player. There was one moment when he didn't get the ball from central defenders, how he shouts and demands that ball to him at 17 means a lot. I spoke with his manager, Edin [Terzic], and he told me what you see in these two games is like every training session." - Man City coach Pep Guardiola back in April 2021
"I like him very much. He is a box-to-box player, that old-school profile. I love everything about Bellingham... The way he plays, the way he brings himself into the game, shows so much maturity." - Jose Mourinho
"I don't think we could have predicted how quickly Bellingham could mature. In the last five months that has gone to another level." - Southgate at the 2022 World Cup
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