REAL Madrid have boldly put aside their past trauma with English players to land the prized Birmingham-born midfielder Jude Bellingham for a nine-figure sum.
Beating off stiff competition from financially juiced Premier League clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea – as well as PSG – they will stump up €103 million to sign Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund.
The sum Madrid will hand over is second only to the €115 million they paid for horror flop Eden Hazard – but more than the €94 million and €101 million they paid for superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale respectively.
Although not a like-for-like replacement, Bellingham will be expected to fill the boots of Ballon D’Or winner and Real Madrid icon Lukas Modric, now 37.
The 19-year-old will line up next to other elite young talent including the unfairly maligned Vinicius Junior (22), fellow Brazilian Rodrygo (22) and Frenchmen Eduardo Camavinga (20) and Aurelien Tchouameni (23).
Madridistas will hope Bellingham – a rising English star who has never played in the Premier League – will be more Steve McManaman than Johnathan Woodgate.
While the former won two Champions Leagues with los merengues, Woodgate did not play for over a year after his transfer due to injury, and when he finally made his debut he scored an own goal and then got sent off.
Meanwhile, fans have ambivalent feelings towards the two English superstars of the era; Michael Owen stayed only one season and started mostly on the bench, while David Beckham arrived at the tail-end of the failed Galactico era when Madrid went through a fallow patch.
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