English midfielder Jude Bellingham during a press conference at his official unveiling at Real Madrid, Madrid Spain, 15 June 2023. EFE/ Rodrigo Jiménez

Joining Real is ‘proudest day of my life’: Bellingham

Madrid, Jun 15 (EFE).- Jude Bellingham said Thursday was “the proudest day” of his life as he was officially unveiled at Real Madrid following his transfer from Borussia Dortmund.

“Hello Madridistas, thanks to everyone in the room and everyone watching online for joining me for the proudest day of my life, the day when I join the greatest football club in the history of the game,” the English midfielder said.

“There’s a lot of people to thank for getting me here to this point: Borussia Dortmund, Birmingham City, the people that work there but also the bosses here, Mr. President, Juni Calafat, Jose Ángel (Sánchez), and, of course, most importantly, my family for all the support and making the deal as easy as possible. So thank you very much and finally Hala Madrid!” he told a room packed with reporters.

English midfielder Jude Bellingham during a press conference at his official unveiling at Real Madrid, Madrid Spain, 15 June 2023. EFE/ Rodrigo Jiménez

Real Madrid have agreed to pay Dortmund 103 million euro deal plus 30% in variables for the sought-after young star, who has signed a contract until 2029.

“I don’t think about money at all when I make these kinds of decisions. I never have, I never will,” he said when asked about his transfer.

“I loved the feeling I got from the club, I couldn’t hide it, I told them more or less straight away how I felt about the club. And after I’d made my decision I wanted it to all happen quickly,” he added.

The 19-year-old will wear number 5, the same as legendary former player and coach Zinedine Zidane during his time at the Spanish club.

“I’ve said how much I admire Zinedine Zidane,” Bellingham said. “And with this number I’m not trying to be the same as him, I’m just trying to be Jude but it’s definitely a bit of homage to how great he was.”

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez welcomed the midfielder he described as “one of the best players in the world” and added the legendary club had pulled out all the stops to secure the transfer.

“Today, one of the best players in the world arrives at Real Madrid,” he said.

“At the Bernabeu you will feel the emotion of football history and the hearts of thousands of people who will help you conquer everything that awaits you at this club,” the president continued.

“That will be your great strength to overcome adversity and overcome the pressure of being a Real Madrid player,” Pérez added.

Pérez went on to praise Bellingham’s achievements at his previous club, where he was awarded the Bundesliga’s best player and became the youngest captain in the German top tier in three decades.

“At 16 you were the youngest player to play a game for Birmingham in its 140-year history and days later the youngest English goalscorer,” he added.

“You are going to experience sensations that are only available to the chosen ones. They are challenges for which you are prepared. Never forget that with this badge and this shirt nothing will be impossible for you. Welcome to what is now your home,” Pérez said.

His signing is another step in the gradual rejuvenation of the Madrid midfield which for years has relied on aging stars Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, as well as Casemiro, who left for Manchester United last season.

Bellingham is the latest young star to boost Real’s midfield ranks, after Uruguayan Fede Valverde and French duo Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni.

Bellingham will be the sixth English player to wear the Madrid shirt after Laurie Cunningham, Steve McManaman, Jonathan Woodgate, David Beckham and Michael Owen. EFE