Home Sports Jude Bellingham is the perfect fit for Real Madrid’s lean winning machine… his Champions League final showing was poor but he won (and that bodes well for England at the Euros)

Jude Bellingham is the perfect fit for Real Madrid’s lean winning machine… his Champions League final showing was poor but he won (and that bodes well for England at the Euros)

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Jude Bellingham (pictured) closed a magnificent season by winning the Champions League.

They played in white, like England, but there was no heroic defeat at Wembley. There was, and with great inevitability, an unheroic victory. Real Madrid played poorly and won. Jude Bellingham played very poorly and won. And that should bode well for his country.

Real is perhaps the closest club to an international team. There is no real, real identity. No entrenched strategy. There are no patterns worthy of big screen analysis. Nothing is invested or thought out too much. They keep it simple by allowing their extroverts to shine. And then, in the end, they win.

They stunk up the place for more than an hour Saturday night, but those white jerseys were likely never stained in defeat. For them, the sweet smell of success was in their noses from the beginning.

Bellingham, at 20, became the third Englishman to win the Champions League with a foreign club. He did it with one of his worst performances of the season – let’s not decorate it with white and navy blue bows – but then, with seven minutes remaining, he found space to give the pass to his teammate Vinicius Júnior to settle the contest. .

It was a moment. A lonely moment after countless moments to forget, but the biggest games and the biggest players are often defined by it. That’s why Carlo Ancelotti left Bellingham on the field when logic had long said that he wasn’t going to hit a bull’s butt with a flamenco guitar.

Jude Bellingham (pictured) closed a magnificent season by winning the Champions League.

Having joined the club last summer, the 20-year-old has won three titles in his first season.

Having joined the club last summer, the 20-year-old has won three titles in his first season.

While Bellingham was disappointed, he still helped his team win their 15th European Cup.

While Bellingham was disappointed, he still helped his team win their 15th European Cup.

That’s why the young man was not ashamed to celebrate, as if he had ruled the previous 90 minutes and had scored the two goals himself. He was celebrating being a winner. It didn’t matter that he and his team had been heavy and insecure in much of what they did. They are, in reality, a winning machine very sure of the result.

And isn’t that what England is not? Go ahead against Croatia in 2018. Lost. Go ahead against Italy in 2021. Lost. Level and rising against France in 2022. Lost. My goodness, we can even go back to the most painful night of all on this same piece of historic land, against Germany in 1996. Heroic in defeat. Losers, anyway.

Bellingham won, adding the Champions League to La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup in its debut season in Spain. He is also the La Liga player of the season. Last year he won the same award in the Bundesliga. Ironically, Borussia Dortmund are the heroic losers of this match. Losers, anyway.

Jamie Carragher later asked Toni Kroos, playing his last game for the club, about the secret to Real Madrid’s success: this is their sixth Champions League crown in 11 seasons.

“You don’t miss the finals,” he said. “She’s a good base.” There is simplicity in words and in play. However, we should not underestimate the depth of thought.

Bellingham (centre) celebrated alongside his team-mates at Wembley at full time.

Bellingham (centre) celebrated alongside his team-mates at Wembley at full time.

Before the game, the midfielder had walked around the grass imagining victory

Before the game, the midfielder had walked around the grass imagining victory

But the Madrid star looked tired at Wembley, which is understandable after a long season.

But the Madrid star looked tired at Wembley, which is understandable after a long season.

Surprisingly, he delivered the pass that allowed Vinicius Jnr to score the second.

Despite his disappointment, he delivered the pass that allowed Vinicius Jnr to score his second

Bellingham, very elegant in his dark suit, walked alone on the field more than an hour before kickoff. Without a doubt, she was imagining victory, preprogramming a mentality that only knew one destiny. He played as if he were still wearing those dress shoes (and, on some level, maybe that should be a concern), but the memory of his young muscles is one of triumph.

They don’t know anything different. Has any English player been so exposed to winning regularly in such a short time? Gareth Southgate can only hope that sentiment infects those who were later exposed to Bellingham this summer.

But what about his display of stuttering and some of the pageantry that surrounds it? He seemed tired. It’s understandable, after a 47-game season. But there’s also the possibility that some of that fatigue was mental. The Bellingham project (we hear a lot about the unity of family and professional friends around it) has been carefully managed in anticipation of this stage. Neither anticipation nor hope. Expectation. With that comes pressure. Young Jude is the only variable in the world that exists around him.

He speaks very well, of course, with maturity and authority. But his post-game interview here seemed a little contrived. He cried when mentioning those who had doubted him. No one has doubted Bellingham. The Bellingham project leaves no room for doubt. This is not a criticism, but has contributed to the player’s incredible resilience. But there should also be concern. At what point does it become stress? Did we see it on Saturday? Or was this a completely forgivable bad night?

Real is perhaps the closest club to an international team. There is no real, real identity.

Real is perhaps the closest club to an international team. There is no real, real identity.

And Bellingham (bottom center) has been one of their standout players this season.

And Bellingham (bottom center) has been one of their standout players this season.

Gareth Southgate (pictured) hopes Bellingham's winning mentality rubs off on his England team.

Gareth Southgate (pictured) hopes Bellingham’s winning mentality rubs off on his England team.

The Madrid superstar will now join his England teammates ahead of the Euro Cup

The Madrid superstar will now join his England teammates ahead of the Euro Cup

At one point, he appeared to hold the back of his leg. But then, in a conference with Ancelotti while play continued elsewhere, it was the head the Real coach pointed to: he wanted more control of one of his best players. There was a positional shift towards a deeper role which worked to some extent, but Bellingham’s most telling contribution remained the assist for Vinicius as he prowled around the edge of the Dortmund penalty area.

And that is also an enigma for Southgate. Does he play his star man in central midfield alongside Declan Rice and ask for more discipline from deep? Or give him license as number 10?

The latter lends itself more to moments, and moments make winners. Jude Bellingham and Real Madrid are undoubtedly that. When the ticker settles, that is the true, the Real identity.

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