Ahead of his debut El Clasico in the legendary colours of Real Madrid, Jude Bellingham has earned much acclaim from a Los Blancos icon.
To say that the 20-year-old has been a revelation since arriving at the Bernabeu is an understatement. Bellingham has taken life at arguably the world’s biggest club in his stride, starting 2023/24 in an incredible vein of form.
He has eight goals and two assists from nine La Liga appearances so far. Additionally, the England international has netted in all three of Real’s Champions League group stage games, too.
His rapid ability to adapt to a new club has not gone unnoticed. In fact, Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas has sung the praises of Los Blancos’ latest Galactico.
“I’m so pleased that he’s been able to show so clearly what he’s capable of and his qualities since he arrived,” Casillas told La Liga. “It’s great for Real Madrid, and great for him, too.
“It’s not easy to adapt, to move to a new league and to a new country like he has. It’ll be a challenge for him now, too. We’ve got so used to him playing at such a high level, with such quality, that we as fans will want him to perform that way every week. I’m sure he will but it’ll be a challenge.”
Could Bellingham reach Zinedine Zidane levels?
One player that Bellingham has drawn comparisons to is Zinedine Zidane. The French icon is one of the greatest midfielders to play the game and played for Madrid from 2001 to 2006.
Although Casillas understands why others see the similarity, he was a bit more cautious before putting that much weight on Bellingham’s shoulders.
“I was lucky enough to play with Zinedine Zidane,” added the former Real keeper. “He was also a midfielder, also a complete player who could play box-to-box.
“I don’t think they’re like-for-like. But Bellingham has made a great start to life at the club and has been fantastic so far.”
The next test in the fledgling Real Madrid career of Jude Bellingham is a big one; his first El Clasico.
El Clasico: Jude Bellingham among star debutants on both sides
Meanwhile, the injury-hit Catalans sweat on the fitness of star players. A multitude of talents – Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Pedri among others – all returned to training on Friday. However, per Football Espana, only the Polish striker is likely to feature on Saturday.
That being said, you can never rule out a late fitness test that could see Xavi have more names to choose from. Elsewhere, we can expect Joao Felix, Ilkay Gundogan, and Joao Cancelo to probably make their (competitive) Clasico debuts for La Blaugrana.
Real Madrid, in contrast, have no fresh injury concerns. Following a solid midweek win in Braga, Jude Bellingham will hope his red-hot form continues into his El Clasico bow.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Saturday 28 October, 3:15pm kick-off (UK time)
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Featured image credit: Getty