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In Focus: Bellingham ready to excel in first El Clasico
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Dan Fitch
Jude Bellingham has been Real Madrid's best player this season
Jude Bellingham has been Real Madrid's best player this season

It says much for Jude Bellingham's exceptional start at Real Madrid that he is billed as the star attraction for this afternoon's El Clasico. 

With 11 goals in 12 games for Los Blancos, the England midfielder has made a bigger impact than anyone could have imagined. 

Now he has the chance to shine on one of the biggest stages of them all, with an estimated worldwide audience of 700 million people tuning into the LaLiga showdown. 

Ahead of Madrid's highly-anticipated trip to face their fierce rivals Barcelona, we take a look at what is now expected from Bellingham. 

Legendary verdict

Someone who understands more than most what it means to play for Real is Iker Casillas. 

The legendary goalkeeper spoke this week about Bellingham's achievements so far and the pressures now on him. 

He said: "I'm so pleased that he's been able to show so clearly what he's capable of and his quality since he arrived. 

"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. 

"He'll have to continue showing how good a player he is. I'm sure he will but it'll be a challenge." 

Jude Bellingham has been in imperious form for Real Madrid
Jude Bellingham has been in imperious form for Real Madrid

Team-mate praise

Carlo Ancelotti has shaped his side around Bellingham in order to solve the problem of the club's lack of strikers. 

That was a huge compliment for a 20-year-old and the faith has proved to be justified, with the Birmingham academy graduate excelling at the tip of Madrid's midfield diamond. 

Bellingham has struck up a particularly effective partnership with Vinicius Junior, who has been effusive in his praise for his new team-mate. 

The Brazilian attacker said: "He is incredible. He was born to play for Real Madrid and to mark an era in the biggest team in the world. 

"Hopefully ours will be a connection for many years to come because we are going to play together here for a long time. 

"I'm delighted with him. He is one of the best players at a young age. We are all happy and the fans are really enjoying it." 

Personality contest

Carlo Ancelotti has praised Jude Bellingham's personality
Carlo Ancelotti has praised Jude Bellingham's personality

Other young players may have wanted to make another intermediate step in their career before joining Real Madrid. 

Bellingham held no such fears and has spoken about his single-minded desire to move to the Bernabeu. 

He said: "Money's not a big thing for me. I don't think about money when I make these kinds of decisions. 

"I play for the love of the game. I loved the feeling I got from the club. 

"I told them straight away what I felt about the club. 

"It's not the case that the other teams were bad or not good but Real Madrid are the greatest." 

Talent alone is not enough to make it at this sort of club. Temperament is perhaps more important, as Ancelotti has explained in reference to Bellingham. 

He said: "Good players with personality suffer less. 

"Personality, more than quality, means a shirt like Real Madrid's doesn't weigh so much."

A winning display against Barca will further cement Bellingham's growing reputation as one of Europe's very best.


LaLigaReal MadridJude Bellingham
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