Four goals in three consecutive games – not friendlies, but valid for the championship.
This is a desirable goal for a center forward, perhaps an attacking winger or an attacking midfielder.
When it comes to a defensive midfielder, however, it is almost impossible to be hit, even by those who launch themselves into the attack and are used to scoring goals, such as the Brazilian Casemiro, from Manchester United, or the Spanish Rodri, from Manchester. City.
Because there was a defensive midfielder who registered that mark in the first three matches of the national league for his new team, and not just any team.
Hired in June by the giant Real Madrid for € 103 million (R$ 584 million at current exchange rates), 20-year-old Jude Bellingham, announced in the presentation to the club with the song “Hey Jude”, by the Beatles, is the sensation of the 2023 season /24 of the main European championships.
The Englishman is one of 13 players in history who cost more than €100 million, but he does not rank as the most expensive transfer of a midfielder, all made this year.
The most expensive were Argentine Enzo Fernández, 22, world champion with Argentina (Chelsea, €121 million), Declan Rice, 24, compatriot from Bellingham (Arsenal, €116.6 million), and Ecuadorian Moisés Caicedo, 21 (Chelsea, €116 million).
Formerly of Borussia Dortmund, a German club he played for from 2020 to 2023, and created by Birmingham, Bellingham is a talent that every coach would like to have in his team, as he is that midfielder who plays from area to area, full of breath, scoring, arming and attacking with equal competence.
The 1.86 m and 75 kg athlete was England’s starter in the 2022 World Cup, having been eliminated in the quarterfinals by France.
In Qatar, he showed his offensive potential when he scored a goal, with a header, against Iran, the first for the English Team in the opening match at the World Cup.
For Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham had already shown what he was capable of in attack, being the element that appeared by surprise in the opposing area to finish, often with precision.
In 2022/23, he scored 14 goals, divided into three different competitions (eight in the Bundesliga, four in the Champions League and two in the German Cup), in a total of 42 matches. For a flywheel, excellent performance.
At Real Madrid, Bellingham had a little help from coach Carlo Ancelotti – who the CBF assures will take over the Brazilian team in the middle of next year – to obtain this impressive statistic at the beginning of the season.
Initially, the young Englishman was supposed to play in the frame, replacing one of the stars of the sector, Modric (Croatian) and Kroos (German), or together with them, in the 4-3-3 formation.
But, after losing the French top scorer Benzema to Saudi football, and without a center forward to match, the Italian coach changed the formation to a 4-3-1-2, with the Brazilians Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior ahead.
Bellingham was slotted to be the “1”, a striker who comes from behind but is always very close to the rival area, with fewer defensive functions, given primarily to the athletes who form the “3”: the Uruguayan Valverde and the French Tchouaméni and Camavinga.
Kroos and Modric, already veterans, have lost space among the starting lineup, but they still receive praise from Bellingham: “Their knowledge of the game, the way they play and their experience will be great for me.”
The role of shirt 10 has worked more than well so far for the Madrid reinforcement, even playing with shirt 5, which he chose because Frenchman Zinédine Zidane, world champion in 1998 and one of the greats in the history of football, wore it when he played for Real (from 2001 to 2006).
The option was directly related to the idol, as he explained: “I’ve already said how much I admire Zidane. I’m not trying to be like him, I’m trying to be Jude, but it’s definitely a tribute. He was incredible”.
And the 5 fell for him and did him a lot of good.
Bellingham, who previously wore number 22, scored a goal against Athletic Bilbao, with a shot without letting the ball fall after a corner; two against Almería (first after a hit in the area and then with a header); and one more against Celta (again with a header), in a game that ended 1-0.
Real won all three matches, all as visitors, taking the isolated lead in the Spanish Championship, and the spotlight was, and is, directed directly to Bellingham.
With the reputation of being the best in the world in his position and with his recent reputation as a goalscorer, he will make his debut for Espanyol in front of the merengue fans this Saturday (2), at the reopening of the Santiago Bernabéu stadium, which has undergone renovation. The opponent is Getafe.