Jude Bellingham inspired by Zinedine Zidane as he takes Real’s number five shirt

Bellingham began his career at Birmingham (Martin Rickett/PA)
Bellingham began his career at Birmingham (Martin Rickett/PA)

Jude Bellingham has revealed he took the number five shirt upon joining Real Madrid as he is inspired by Zinedine Zidane.

The England midfielder completed his initial 103million euros (£88.5m) move to Real on Thursday afternoon, signing a six-year deal after leaving Borussia Dortmund.

Bellingham spoke of it being the “proudest day” of his life as he addressed the media having taken the number five jersey at the Bernabeu.

He later explained his reasoning behind asking Jesus Vallejo to give up the number for him – citing Zidane, who won 16 major honours as a player and manager at Real – as an inspiration.

“I really admire Zidane and the legacy he has at this club with the number five,” Bellingham said.

“It’s a number that inspires me. I’ve worn 22 for a long time and in my heart I’ll continue to wear 22. I’m delighted to wear the number five.”

Bellingham was recently named Bundesliga player of the season after his starring role for Dortmund, who missed out on the title in agonising fashion on the final day of the campaign.

Upon his move to Dortmund, boyhood club Birmingham took the unexpected step to retire Bellingham’s number 22 jersey at St Andrews.

He went on to score 24 goals in 132 appearances in Germany, winning the DFB Pokal in 2021.

Now though, he believes he has joined the best club in the world and insists money was of no consequence to his decision having previously been heavily linked with a return to England at either Manchester City or Liverpool.

“Real Madrid is the greatest club in history and there aren’t many players who get to play for such a magnificent and historic club. I’m very grateful to those who brought me here,” he added.

“I don’t think about money when I make these kinds of decisions. It’s not important to me.

“It’s the sport I love and I love the feeling at Real Madrid and how I feel about the club.

“For me Real Madrid is the greatest club and I wanted everything to happen quickly. It doesn’t mean that the other teams are bad, but that Real Madrid is the greatest.”

Bellingham began his career at Birmingham
Jude Bellingham began his career at Birmingham (Martin Rickett/PA)

With his parents watching on, Bellingham said: “Thank you for everyone for joining me on the proudest day of my life. The day where I joined the greatest football club in the history of the game.

“There are a lot of people to thank for getting me to this point – Borussia Dortmund and Birmingham City, the people that worked there.

“Also the bosses here (at Real Madrid); Mr President (Florentino Perez), Juni Calafat (scout), Jose Angel (chief executive).”

Perez, who later presented Bellingham with his new shirt, welcomed the teenager to Madrid.

“He decided to join Real Madrid, the most prestigious team in the world,” Perez said at the unveiling.

“That is why we welcome today – at Real Madrid – Jude Bellingham. The day has arrived, the day you always dreamt of, we would like to thank you because you gave everything you have to be here.

“Thank you for your ambition – this is the most loved club and from today you will get all the values that represent Real Madrid.

“I’m sure you fell in love by watching how Real Madrid got five Champions Leagues in the last nine years, some unforgettable moments…Jude, Santiago Bernabeu is waiting for you.

“You will feel the history of this club, all the Madristas gather around this feeling that we will always help you out and do absolutely everything to win every single title.”