Nacho Fernandez has claimed that Jude Bellingham was 'born to play for Real Madrid' after the latter's late heroics against Union Berlin in the UEFA Champions League group-stage opener.
The German side were happy to sit deep and defend against the 14-time Champions League winners at the Santiago Bernabeu. The tactic seemed to have worked until Los Blancos played a short corner-kick routine in the fourth minute of added time.
The ball was worked to Federico Valverde, whose shot was deflected into the feet of Bellingham. With goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow already committed to a dive, the Englishman scored from an unmissable range inside the box.
This was Bellingham's sixth goal in as many games for the Spanish club since his €103 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund this summer. Three of those strikes have come after the 80th minute as match-winning goals.
After the game, Nacho said (h/t @MadridUniversal on X):
"Jude was born to play for Real Madrid and we are very happy that he is with us."
Real Madrid were clearly the dominant side in the game, managing 32 shots in comparison to the visitors' four. They also kept 75% of the ball and managed an xG (expected goals) of 3.38.
Jude Bellingham says he has 'adapted very well' at Real Madrid after winner against Union Berlin
Jude Bellingham is already a fan favorite among the Real Madrid faithful. He has wasted no time getting adjusted to the league and is firing on all cylinders.
Carlo Ancelotti said earlier this season that the 20-year-old could fill the void left by Karim Benzema's move to Al-Ittihad. It may have raised a few eyebrows then, but the Englishman's numbers speak for themselves.
English footballers' career trajectories rarely lead them to La Liga. David Beckham and Kieran Trippier are arguably the only two players from the country to make a name for themselves in Spain's top division.
Bellingham is now threatening to become England's greatest-ever export to Spain. After the win against Union Berlin, he told reporters, via the aforementioned source:
"I'm normally a shy kid, but I've adapted very well. I always go with a smile."
Bellingham's jubilant celebration, with outstretched arms towards his club's fans, is becoming a common sight for the opposition. It is still early days, but more such performances can one day take him to the echelons occupied by some of Real Madrid's greatest-ever players, including his idol Zinedine Zidane.