Jude Bellingham has been crowned the Golden Boy of 2023, the prestigious award given to the best under-21 player in Europe’s top leagues. The 20-year-old England and Real Madrid midfielder beat a strong field of contenders, including Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala, Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde, RB Leipzig’s Xavi Simons and Benfica’s Antonio Silva.
Bellingham’s remarkable rise to the top of world football has been nothing short of sensational. He started his professional career at Birmingham City, where he became the youngest player to make his debut for the club at the age of 16 years and 38 days. He quickly established himself as a regular starter and a fan favourite, and had his jersey retired.
In 2021, he made a big move to Borussia Dortmund, where he continued to impress with his versatility, maturity and creativity, and in the summer of 2023, Bellingham completed a big transfer to Real Madrid, becoming the most expensive English player of all time. He adapted quickly to life in Spain, becoming a key player for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. He has scored 15 in 17 appearances for Los Blancos, including a late winner in El Clasico against Barcelona. He has also dominated several other statistical categories:
Jude Bellingham in La Liga this season.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) December 4, 2023
1st in goals
1st in through balls
1st in blocks
2nd in shots on target
2nd in passes into the penalty area
Next target is Balon D'or. He doesn't just rack up individual statistics, he makes everyone around him better.
“I have to have big goals, to win the lot if possible,” Bellingham said upon winning the award handed by Tuttosport. “I enjoy playing for my country, England, and with Real Madrid as well. The pressure is huge but I’m so happy to represent both of these teams. I’m going to give it my all to win trophies both for my country and for Real Madrid.”
Bellingham is the first English player to win the Golden Boy award since Raheem Sterling in 2014, and the third overall, after Wayne Rooney in 2004. He is also the first player to win the award with Real Madrid, and the third to win it after playing for Borussia Dortmund, following Erling Haaland and Mario Gotze.
Bellingham has expressed his gratitude to everyone who has supported him in his journey, especially his family, who he says give him the motivation and love to keep striving. He has also named his brother Jobe Bellingham, who plays for Sunderland, as one of the potential future winners of the Golden Boy award.
Bellingham has shown that he has the talent, the attitude and the ambition to become one of the best players in the world — and he is already arguably the best player in the world right now. Is the Balon D’or next?
Is there actually anyone ahead of Jude Bellingham in world football right now? You expect Mbappe / Haaland to be in the conversation for Balon D'or end of 2024, but right now, wouldn't trade Jude for anyone.— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) December 4, 2023