Real Madrid superstar Jude Bellingham could well be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or next year, but he will collect the Golden Boy award today, and has given most of the credit to his manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
Bellingham would have been a contender had he not come into the Santiago Bernabeu and instantly become their most important player, scoring 15 times and giving 4 assists in a sensational start to the season. Yet he told Tuttosport, as carried by Diario AS, that Ancelotti had been decisive.
“I put in my efforts and a fierce commitment to improve myself with work, but the credit goes to Mr. Ancelotti who found the right position for me and gave me more freedom on the field. So now I am flying on the pitch thanks to him.”
Jude Bellingham on winning the Golden Boy award (Tuttosport):
"I am the 3rd Englishman to win it, after Wayne Rooney, one of my idols, and Sterling. It was my last chance, because in 2024 I will be too old to win it. Happy to have gotten it on the 3rd try.” pic.twitter.com/MgUaLMUpC5
— Football España (@footballespana_) December 4, 2023
He also had plenty of thank yous to send, both publicly and privately.
“I want to thank my Real Madrid teammates and the entire squad, Mr. Ancelotti, the president, my family, my mother Denise, my father Mark, my younger brother Jobe, the friends who have happily bombarded and inundated me with congratulatory messages, and I hope they continue to do so. Without all these people, without their help on and off the field, their constant encouragement and without ever forgetting the fans that support me, I would not have been able to win the Golden Boy.”
On the one hand, Ancelotti was forced to look for alternatives, with Karim Benzema leaving and not top class striker arriving. Yet placing Bellingham further forward, and giving him licence to be the player that gets into the box rather than another more natural forward, was a move few if any saw coming. The Italian has admitted he did not expect such a dramatic impact from Bellingham, but without this version of Bellingham, it could be a very different season for Los Blancos.