The making of Jude Bellingham: boy with Ronaldo haircut who became face of Real Madrid

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Coaches and teammates on how Birmingham’s ‘skinny teenager’ developed into one of the world’s best players before his first Champions League final

This week Jude Bellingham offered a glimpse into the mind of a phenomenon by quietly admitting he had envisaged these days, just maybe not so soon. Little did he know, at the start of his teens, that one week training on the outskirts of Barcelona and another at the foothills of the Black Forest would provide him with something of a peek into the future. Birmingham City recognised the boy who joined at seven from Stourbridge Juniors would benefit from fresh challenges, different plains. They wanted to take him out of his ever-evolving comfort zone, though that was somewhere he rarely stayed long.

Birmingham sent Bellingham on a kind of footballing school exchange, to Cornellà and Freiburg, teams in Spain and Germany with whom they had links, to give him a taste of European football. On Saturday Bellingham will play in the continent’s grandest club match, when Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, his current and former clubs, duel for the Champions League at Wembley. It is a long way from his colourful early days in Birmingham’s pre-academy that Mike Dodds, who coached Bellingham during his first and last training sessions at the club, well remembers.

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Written by Ben Fisher
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/article/2024/may/31/jude-bellingham-real-madrid-champions-league-dortmund-profile under the title “The making of Jude Bellingham: boy with Ronaldo haircut who became face of Real Madrid”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.