Jude Bellingham makes the right impression on Fernando Morientes

The England international has impressed former Real Madrid striker Morientes with how he has adapted to life in Spain.

Fernando Morientes has praised Jude Bellingham’s “extraordinary” debut season for Real Madrid
Fernando Morientes has praised Jude Bellingham’s “extraordinary” debut season for Real Madrid (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes has praised Jude Bellingham for the “extraordinary” way he has adapted to life in Spain.

The 20-year-old, who is expected to be a key player for England at Euro 2024, has enjoyed a brilliant first season after moving to the Bernabeu from Borussia Dortmund for an initial £88million last summer.

Bellingham has scored 23 goals in all competitions for the Spanish champions with 19 coming in the league, which is better than Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski and surpassed by only Villarreal’s Alexander Sorloth (23) and Girona’s Artem Dovbyk (21).

Morientes admits that has come as a surprise to everyone and filled a major hole for manager Carlo Ancelotti following the departure of Karim Benzema.

“He is a new player in LaLiga, new at Real Madrid, and there is a lot of pressure there when that happens,” Morientes told an event hosted by LaLiga to review this season.

“He is very young and has been fighting for the top goalscorer for the year. His first half of the season was amazing.

“He’s had some ups and downs, which is normal for any young player, but I think his adaptation has been extraordinary.

“The hardest thing for a player in a new league, a new culture and language, is adapting and he has shown his adaptation has been fantastic.

“If we had asked ourselves at the beginning of season whether Bellingham would be the top scorer at Real Madrid few people would have thought he would have scored so many goals.

“They would have thought Rodrygo, Joselu or even Vinicius – the strikers – but Bellingham has shown he has added facets to his abilities as a player and that is amazing at his age.

“I am sure Ancelotti is even happier as he can continue to play Bellingham without any problem.”

The England international was named on the initial 10-man list for player of the year but has now made the final five alongside team-mate Vinicius Junior, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, Real Betis’ Isco and Dovbyk.

Morientes picked Bellingham as his choice because of the impact he has made as a goalscoring midfielder.

“I think one of the aptitudes or characteristics of Jude Bellingham has been his physique,” he added.

“He has shown he is not just a good midfielder who can create opportunities but also as a young player he has added something more to his game and has managed to get into the penalty area from the second line.

“This year Real Madrid have not played with a natural striker such as Benzema in the past and this has meant a player coming from the second line has been able to play in the forward line and get through to the penalty area and score goals.

“I think it is amazing for teams to have midfielders who are able to organise the team’s play but also add this offensive attribute to score goals.”