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Jude Bellingham explains why he chose Zidane’s No. 5 shirt

Jude Bellingham explains why he chose Zidane's No. 5 shirt
Jude Bellingham explains why he chose Zidane's No. 5 shirt

At his presentation on Thursday in Madrid, new Real Madrid signing Jude Bellingham said he wanted to pay tribute to club legend Zinedine Zidane by wearing his number five shirt.

The England international, 19, signed a six-year contract with Real Madrid for 103 million euros ($112 million) plus up to 30% more in bonuses from Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham spoke alongside Madrid president Florentino Perez about why he chose the number five shirt.

Defender Antonio Rudiger currently wears the number 22, which Bellingham has worn throughout his career because it is the sum of shirt numbers 10, 8, and 4, representing his versatility in midfield and wide skill set.

“I’ve said in many interviews how much I admire Zinedine Zidane, his legacy at the club with this number — I’m just trying to be Jude, but it’s definitely a bit of an homage to how great he was,” Bellingham said at a news conference.

“The number 22 means a lot to me, and in my heart, I’m still number 22, just with a 5 on my back.”

Jude Bellingham explains why he chose Zidane's No. 5 shirt

Wearing Zidane’s previous shirt, according to Bellingham, does not imply that he is attempting to emulate the French midfield maestro, who went on to win three Champions Leagues as Real Madrid manager.

“The (Madrid) shirt is enough pressure… “It’s a tribute to a great player,” Bellingham explained.

“Perhaps I can extend the legacy of the number rather than attempting to reach his.”

Bellingham has plenty of other role models to learn from at the club, including veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

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“The things I’ll learn, especially from the two older lads, Modric and Kroos, with their knowledge of the game, will be incredible,” Bellingham said.

“I’ll be like a sponge around them, trying to steal whatever they have.” They’ll probably get tired of me.”

– ‘Goosebumps’ –

The England international, who shone at the Qatar World Cup last winter, broke through as a 16-year-old at Birmingham City, who retired his shirt number after a 25-million-euro move to Dortmund in 2020.

Bellingham stated that he considered other options but quickly decided that Real Madrid was his best bet.

He stated that he wanted to stay out of his comfort zone, despite the fact that returning to England would have been an easy choice.

“I’d always been aware of the interest from England, which is pretty normal, but it was a bit of a surprise when my father sat me down and told me 12 to 15 months ago that you’ve had some interest from Real Madrid,” the midfielder explained.

“I had goosebumps and my heart was on the verge of stopping.” It’s such an amazing feeling when that manifests itself.”

Jude Bellingham explains why he chose Zidane's No. 5 shirt

Bellingham, who turns 20 in June, was named Bundesliga player of the season after leading Dortmund to the brink of the title, only to be pipped by giants Bayern Munich on the final day of the season.

The player stated that his goal at Real Madrid was to learn as well as win trophies, and he dismissed questions about his large transfer fee.

“It doesn’t matter how much you come here for; the goal is the same: to help Real Madrid win trophies and continue to be the biggest club in the world,” Bellingham explained.

“I’m not a lawyer or an accountant; my job is to play on the pitch.

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