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Jude Bellingham takes next step with Real Madrid switch

Jude Bellingham has described his move to Real Madrid as the "proudest day of my life", after he was officially unveiled as a Los Blancos player.

Speaking to the Spanish media at his first press conference since his move from Borussia Dortmund, the England international said he has joined the "greatest football club in the history of the game" and is "really grateful" to have been handed this opportunity,

The 19-year-old is the second player to arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, the first being left-back Fran Garcia from Rayo Vallecano, and it will be intriguing to see what other business Los Blancos carry out before the window shuts.

Harry Kane is said to be a target for the Spanish giants and it is 6/4 that the Tottenham striker makes the move in the Transfer Specials market, while it is 8/13 he stays put.

As for Bellingham, this move shows just how quick his development has been over the past few years, having gone from Birmingham City to Dortmund in 2020, and now to Madrid just three years later.

Rare Dortmund to Madrid move

Transfers between Dortmund and Madrid have been few and far between over the years, with just eight deals conducted between the duo, and three of those included the same player in Nuri Sahin.

Sahin is the last person before Bellingham to have made the move from BVB to Los Blancos and the Turkish star was also handed the number five shirt, although his time at the Bernabeu was not fondly remembered and he ended up going back to the German side permanently in 2014.

Hopes are much higher that Bellingham, who is just the third player Madrid have signed from Dortmund after Christoph Metzelder and Sahin, will thrive wearing the famous white jersey and succeed where others have not.

Number 5 the designated shirt

If Bellingham did have any nerves about making this big-money switch, which could end up costing Madrid a reported 133million euros, then the fact he has been handed the famous number five shirt only adds to this.

Fernando Hierro, Fabio Cannavaro and Fernando Gago are three to have donned the jersey, although the most famous by far to have worn this shirt is French superstar Zinedine Zidane.

The now 50-year-old is a club icon, having had the number five on his back from 2001-2006 before calling time on his career, and nobody has really been close to replicating his performances in that shirt.

Bellingham certainly has the potential to be a world-class star, if he isn't already, but whether he can match Zidane, or even better the Frenchman, during his time at Madrid remains to be seen.

Zidane won the Champions League in 2001/02 in his first season with Madrid, producing a stunning volley in that final win over Bayer Leverkusen, and if you feel Bellingham can also achieve this in his debut campaign then Los Blancos are 10/1 To Win Outright the 2023/24 edition.

It was not until his second season that Zidane tasted La Liga glory but Bellingham could go one better than the Frenchman and lift the trophy in his first year, with Madrid 11/10 To Win Outright the Spain Primera Liga 2023/24.

Madrid move should benefit England

Bellingham is already a staple in England's starting XI and he has 24 caps to his name at the tender age of 19, leaving him on course to be the fastest player to hit 50 caps for the Three Lions.

That record is currently held by Michael Owen, who got to 50 aged 23 years and 179 days, while Wayne Rooney (23y 159d) is second and Raheem Sterling (24y 180d) is third.

Owen's record has stood since 2003, but if Bellingham continues the way he is going and with a major tournament coming next summer, he is likely to get to 50 caps the quickest.

The Englishman's switch to the Bernabeu can only be seen as a positive for the national side. Bellingham will be getting regular football at the very top, on both the domestic and European stage, and his game should develop at the same rate of knots it has been doing so far, if not quicker.

Bellingham will have had a full season in Madrid by the time Euro 2024 comes around and he looks sure to be an integral part of Gareth Southgate's side, who are 5/1 to land their first piece of silverware since the 1966 World Cup.

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