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Thierry Henry lavishes praise on Jude Bellingham prior to 2-1 aggregate victory against RB Leipzig

Published: Updated: 16:14, 18 Mar 2024
Former Arsenal and Barcelona star is a huge fan of the England star

One man who has taken the football world by storm this season is Jude Bellingham. Much was expected of him when he made the move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid in the summer for a whopping €100m, despite him being just 19 years of age at the time. But to say that the former Birmingham City youngster has hit the ground running would be an understatement.

He has already racked up over 30 goals and assists in all competitions for Los Blancos this season. In the recent 2-1 aggregate victory against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League, he became the first Englishman since Steven Gerrard to notch up four goals and four assists in Europe's elite club competition.

Before that nervy victory against the Germans, Thierry Henry lavished praise on the talented midfielder. His exceptional performances have not gone unnoticed, especially by the legendary French icon, something even more impressive considering his links to Real's archrivals Barcelona.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, after Arsenal's 6-0 drubbing of Sheffield United, Thierry Henry said:

"This guy right now, I think.. take a bow, and I'm not a real Madrid guy. Whenever I see him, he doesn't shy away, he wants the ball. The system that Ancelotti put for him 4312, he answered the call."

"The pressure that you have to handle in Spain, this is what makes it even more special. The expectation, you take the number five of Zinedine Zidane and when you celebrate, you're like this (arms out), oh, well done mate."

Real Madrid Are Champions League Contenders Once Again

Since moving to Real Madrid, Bellingham has been nothing short of sensational.

His ability to control the midfield, combined with his knack for goal-scoring and setting up his teammates - especially Brazilian winger Vinicius Jr. - has made him an indispensable part of Los Blancos' lineup. His performances have not only helped his team secure vital wins but have also put them in a commanding position to clinch La Liga this season.

The club from the Spanish capital are currently seven points clear of second-placed underdogs Girona, with their rivals from Catalonia a point further back. Bellingham scored twice against the Blaugrana earlier in the season to seal a stunning 2-1 victory, and he will be aiming for more of the same when they visit the Bernabeu on April 21st.

Now, Real Madrid are also comfortably through to the last eight of the Champions League and much of the credit has been rightly attributed to Bellingham's influence on the pitch.

With the Spanish league leaders, as well as reigning champions Manchester City, French champions Paris Saint-Germain and Germany's rekordmeister Bayern Munich the first four teams through to the quarterfinals, the 'Big-Eared' trophy is certainly up for grabs. A popular sports betting website makes Pep Guardiola's Blues the +165 favourites for glory, with Real Madrid a +400 second favourite.

Lighting Up the Bernabeu

The transition from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid has been seamless for Bellingham, who has adapted to the demands and pressures of playing for one of the world's most prestigious clubs with remarkable ease.

His contributions have been pivotal in his side's campaign, where they look set to dominate both domestically and in Europe. His ability to perform consistently at such a high level has sparked discussions about him being one of the best midfield talents in the game today.

Success With England

Looking ahead, Bellingham's prospects with England at UEFA Euro 2024 this summer are incredibly promising. Given his current form and the critical role he plays at Real Madrid, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate will likely view him as a key player in his squad.

His versatility, energy, and technical skills could be the catalyst England needs to mount a serious challenge for a first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup and to lay the ghosts of three years ago - when Italy stunned the hosts on penalties at Wembley - to rest.

Southgate's men have a relatively easy-looking group at the tournament as they will have to battle it out with Serbia, Denmark - the team they beat in the semifinals three years ago -  and Slovenia.

The first of those fixtures takes place in Gelsenkirchen on June 16th, barely a fortnight on from the Champions League final. After that, the Three Lions head to Frankfurt before finishing their group stage obligations in Cologne on June 25th.

Thierry Henry's commendation is not just a nod to Bellingham's current form but a recognition of his potential to ascend to even greater heights in the footballing world. As Real Madrid continues its quest for silverware and their star boy prepares to make his mark on the international stage with England, the future looks bright for the young midfielder. 

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