As expected, on Friday evening England and Real Madrid midfielder, Jude Bellingham, was handed the 2023 Golden Boy award, and his latest football recognition came as absolutely no surprise whatsoever given the development the youngster has shown over the last few years, and not least, his adaption to life at the Santiago Bernabeu and in his new Spanish La Liga challenge.
20 year old Bellingham has come a long way since his breakthrough at Birmingham City back in the 2019/20 campaign, and having impressed in 35 starts for them in his debut season, Borussia Dortmund quickly saw a bargain a paid a whopping £20.7 million for his services at the end of the campaign.
His three years with them saw him make over 100 appearances across all competitions, chipping in with 12 Bundesliga goals, and 12 goals in European competition. With England recognition coming his way, as well as honours and individual achievements already starting to rack up, with plenty of interest being expressed in him over the summer, he resisted overtures to return to England, and instead headed for for one of Europe’s most successful and iconic clubs, Real Madrid, in a deal worth £88.5 million.
He has only been with them since June of this year, but his opening 11 league games have seen a return of ten goals, and he has added a further three goals to his tally from three Champions League clashes.
The Golden Boy award is handed to the best Under 21 player across the European top flights, and seeing Bellingham take the award this year is in many ways an absolute no brainer given his performances in this calendar for Dortmund, England and Real.
Last October he had already been recognised as the best Under 21 player in world football at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, so again, many had tipped him to also lift this one to complete the proverbial double set.
Colombia and fellow Real Madrid forward, Linda Caicedo (18 years old) lifted the Golden Girl award.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey so far at Birmingham, Dortmund and now Madrid. It wouldn’t be possible without them. Lastly and most importantly my family who give me the support and motivation and love every day to keep striving. Now I have this prestigious award I want to keep going. I want to keep pushing the limits of my potential and hopefully many more trophies to come.”
Notable former winners include Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, and Bellingham now becomes the first English player to lift the award since Raheem Sterling back in 2014 when the now Chelsea winger was still with Liverpool.