Bellingham already a big personality in Real changing room, says Ruediger

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti also spoke highly of the England prodigy who has become a fan favourite in Spain

By Reuters

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Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham. — Reuters
Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham. — Reuters

Published: Mon 8 Apr 2024, 5:13 PM

Real Madrid defender Antonio Ruediger said he is both impressed and surprised with the impact England midfielder Jude Bellingham has had on the team at the age of just 20 after he was signed from Borussia Dortmund last June.

The 31-year-old German defender heaped praise on Bellingham's leadership qualities, which has already made an impact inside Real's changing room.

"I was surprised because I didn't know him very well, but my goodness! He has a great personality that is already a presence in our squad. He is a very good player," Ruediger told a press conference ahead of Real's Champions League quarterfinal first-leg clash against Manchester City on Tuesday.

"If you talk to (Bellingham) you get the feeling that he's already experienced everything and he's only 20 years old. I'm not surprised anymore.

"He's going to be a leader, he's very mature, very professional in everything he does. We must pray that he continues to be as healthy as he is. Off the pitch I'm not worried about anything, he has very good parents and a great environment."

Bellingham, signed for 103 million euros ($111.50 million), has made the transition from Dortmund to Real Madrid look ridiculously easy and is joint top-scorer in LaLiga with 16 goals -- tied with Girona's Artem Dovbyk and Osasuna's Ante Budimir.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti also spoke highly of the England prodigy who has become a fan favourite in Spain.

"(Bellingham) is a great player that knows how to appear in the box at the right time," Ancelotti told a press conference on Monday.

"Physically he is very strong and is able to cover a lot of ground and contribute a lot in defence. He creates space and opportunities for us."

Ancelotti admitted he was rather anxious about facing Manchester City in a Champions League knockout tie for a third year running.

Real eliminated City in the 2022 semi-finals but Pep Guardiola's side gained revenge a year later at the same stage. The winner of the tie ended up lifting the trophy both times.

"I'm very nervous. The hours before the match, on a personal level, " Ancelotti said.

"Is defeat suffering and victory, happiness? No, it's really a relief. Because the days after are calmer. Suffering is part of the job, it keeps you alive, it's fuel for me.

"It will be an attractive football match, each team has its own characteristics, with a lot of quality in both teams. This quality will make for a very nice match on a technical level."


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