Jude Bellingham topples more Real Madrid records in Girona thrashing

    Another tireless display, capped by two goals to match the number of passes he misplaced, earned Jude Bellingham a standing ovation during Real Madrid’s 4-0 thrashing of Girona.

    The Santiago Bernabeu crowd, almost universally decked in Bellingham’s number five shirt, have made little secret of their deep affection for the 20-year-old. Jude-mania stretches beyond the capital, with police officers from cities 350 miles south of Madrid asking Bellingham for a photo earlier this season.

    However, Carlo Ancelotti still needs convincing. The Madrid manager claimed that Vinicius Junior is “the best in the world” after a statement victory against their closest title challengers. Bellingham would have to settle for being “the second best”.

    Vinicius may have been marginally more impressive on Saturday night, leaving Girona’s right-back Yan Couto with twisted blood and in tears before consoling him at the final whistle. Yet, Bellingham managed to add a few more records to his honour roll before limping off in the second half.



    La Liga goals

    Jude Bellingham






    James Rodriguez






    Mesut Ozil



    Wesley Sneijder



    Zinedine Zidane

    2002/03 & 2005/06


    One of the many storylines that failed to emerge from Madrid’s emphatic title showdown with Girona was the battle between the league’s leading scorers.

    At one point midway through the second half, the camera caught Artem Dovbyk with a haunting look of resignation draped across his baby face. Girona’s mobile target man began the game level with Bellingham on 14 league goals and had few opportunities to add to his tally. Dovbyk, nor the rest of his teammates, managed a single shot on target – the first time Girona have failed to test a La Liga goalkeeper this season.

    Bellingham wasn’t particularly trigger-happy himself but proved to be in the right place at the right time once again. Ancelotti may rank Vinicius higher than Bellingham but he made a flattering comparison between the Englishman and his most famous predecessor in the number five shirt.

    “There are things about the way he plays that remind me of Zidane, it’s his extraordinary quality on the ball,” Ancelotti gushed. “Zidane may have been even better technically but Bellingham combines it with how he gets into the box. There are few players in the world who can match his movement for his first goal.”

    Darting behind Girona’s depleted and disorganised backline, Bellingham controlled Vinicius’ audacious pass and deftly rounded Paulo Gazzaniga with one touch before stuffing Madrid’s second goal of the game into the net. No Madrid midfielder in the 21st century can match Bellingham‘s tally of 16 league goals in a single season. Zidane, for comparison, never broke double digits.

    Bellingham’s second of the night, a simple tap-in earned through an appreciation of where the ball may drop which has prompted Ancelotti to call him “smarter than the rest”, ensured that he is once again La Liga’s outright top scorer.

    The closest thing to a midfielder to have last won Spain’s Pichichi award was Atletico Madrid’s Luis Aragones in 1970. That year, Aragones finished the season with 16 goals – the same tally Bellingham can boast with 14 games of the campaign remaining.

    David Beckham

    David Beckham also scored 20 goals for Real Madrid / Denis Doyle/GettyImages


    Real Madrid games

    Real Madrid goals

    Jude Bellingham



    David Beckham



    Laurie Cunningham



    Michael Owen



    Steve McManaman



    Jonathan Woodgate



    When David Beckham signed for Real Madrid in 2003, forcing Claude Makelele into a move to Chelsea, Zidane sighed: “Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”

    To labour the metaphor, Bellingham is a golden engine.

    Zidane’s barb was aimed at the starry-eyed president Florentino Perez rather than Beckham, who chiselled out a decent career for himself in the Spanish capital with some notable ups and downs. Beckham racked up 20 goals across all competitions during his four years at the club, a figure which Bellingham has matched halfway through his debut campaign.

    Intriguingly, UEFA once cited Steve McManaman’s spell at Madrid as the most successful English footballing export of all time. Goals were not the defining feature of McManaman’s game but Bellingham surpassed the former Liverpool midfielder’s total haul of 14 after just 16 games. McManaman, however, can point to a goal in the Champions League final for Madrid – although, Bellingham has plenty of time to match that feat.

    The closest any Englishman has come to matching Bellingham’s frightening scoring rate was Michael Owen. The Ballon d’Or winner only lasted one season in Spain and never acclimatised to his new surroundings, infamously trekking to the airport each day to fetch English newspapers which were available a short walk away from his hotel – something he only discovered at the end of his stay.

    Nevertheless, Owen averaged a goal every 153 minutes when he wasn’t in the Barajas newsagents. Bellingham is clocking in at one goal every 128 minutes.

    Real Madrid were originally founded in 1898 and have a roll call of former players more star-studded than the Oscars audience. Yet, Bellingham has already cracked the club’s century of all-time top scorers.

    Bellingham, who had never played top-flight football before the COVID-19 pandemic, has scored more goals for Real Madrid than Gunter Netzer, Michael Laudrup, Clarence Seedorf and Arjen Robben.

    There will be plenty more names below Bellingham by the end of the season. How many will be left above him by the end of his Madrid career may be a very small number.


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