‘Not bad for a champions, eh?’: Jude Bellingham gives a cheeky answer when asked about his sensational debut in the Champions League campaign, while Pep Guardiola admits he ‘can’t believe’ that the Borussia Dortmund star is ONLY 17 years old
- Jude Bellingham admitted that he was impressed by his own exhibitions in Europe
- The Dortmund sensation scored his first Champions League goal in the loss of Manchester City
- Bellingham was a big part of Dortmund’s run to the quarterfinals
- Pep Guardiola admitted he is ‘so good for a 17-year-old’ after Wednesday’s game
Jude Bellingham boldly claimed he hadn’t fared badly ‘for a champion player’ after his impressive Champions League debut season came to an end in the quarter-finals.
The 17-year-old was one of Borussia Dortmund’s standout players in their run-up to the quarter-finals, appearing in all of their matches, becoming eye-catching again when they were dumped by Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Bellingham had scored a stunning goal in the first half to bring Dortmund to aggregate level that night – the youngest Englishman ever to score in the league – before Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden struck to advance City to the semi-finals.
Jude Bellingham stood out with a dazzling performance against Manchester City
The midfielder’s performance in the Champions League this season has allayed all doubts that he was not ready to play on the biggest stage, having only joined Dortmund last summer in a £ 25 million deal from Championship side Birmingham.
Birmingham even decided to retire their No. 22 shirt in honor of Bellingham when their academy moved to Dortmund, ‘to remember one of ourselves and to inspire others’.
And Bellingham, who is only the second player in history to play in 10 Champions League appearances before his 18th birthday, admitted that he was delighted with how well he handled his exposure to European football. When asked what he can bring from his debut season in the league, Bellingham told BT Sport, “Not bad for a champion player, huh?
‘I think I’ve taken every game in my stride, I had a bit of a rough start at Lazio and since then I think all my best performances in BVB colors have come in the Champions League, including tonight.
The 17-year-old became the youngest Englishman ever to score in the Champions League
The 17-year-old admitted that he was impressed with his own performance in Europe this season
Jude Bellingham’s Champions League stats this season
Spell: 10 Goals: 1 Assists: 1
“ For me it’s brilliant to play in this league and for this club it’s a huge honor so I can take a little bit of that and learn from it, but I’m still stressed that we didn’t make it. ”
Former England international Owen Hargreaves was one of many exuberant in his praise for Bellingham after his controlled and mature demeanor against City.
“Wow, he’s incredible, he’s amazing,” said Hargreaves.
‘The touch, calm and finish. He has the instinct to get in the box and the quality to do so is terrifying. The more you look at him, the more he blows you away. ‘
Even City manager Pep Guardiola admitted he was blinded by Bellingham’s performances belying his younger years.
City advanced despite Bellingham’s goal after Phil Foden (right) secured a 2-1 win
Pep Guardiola admitted he was blinded by 17-year-old Bellingham’s performance
“I can’t believe it, maybe he’s a liar!” Guardiola joked after the game. ‘He’s been so good for 17 years, he’s a fantastic player.
There was a moment when he didn’t get the ball from center backs, how he screams and demands that ball at him at 17 means a lot.
“I spoke to his manager, Edin [Terzic], and he told me that what you see in these two games is the same as every training session. ‘
However, Bellingham and Co face a challenge if they want to play in next season’s Champions League, with Dortmund currently fifth in the Bundesliga, seven points behind Eintracht Frankfurt with six games to go.