Jude Bellingham has said playing at the Bernabéu makes you “feel like a proper gladiator” as he reflected on his first six months at Real Madrid, and said he hopes to maintain his form at the club for “many seasons to come.”
Bellingham has scored 18 goals in 26 games for Madrid this season since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
Madrid travel to Getafe in LaLiga on Thursday, where a win would see them go two points clear of title rivals Girona at the top of the table.
“You always know that Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world,” Bellingham told Real Madrid TV. “But then it’s just different when you actually get to experience it. Especially at the Bernabéu, with the new set-up and how it looks and everything, it’s just unbelievable. It’s like playing at the Colosseum. You feel like a proper gladiator. It’s just so cool, you just don’t understand how big the club is.”
“There isn’t anywhere you can go where people don’t recognise you. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing,” Bellingham added.
“You just realise it’s that step up in class, in everything really. But also the flipside when you come into training every day, the players are always quite calm, the coach is really calm. It’s a good environment to work in, and express yourself and be creative with your football.”
Bellingham’s performances for Madrid have seen him win the 2023 Golden Boy Award for Europe’s best player under the age of 21, as well as the Ballon d’Or Kopa trophy for the world’s best under-21 footballer. He had a record-breaking start to life in Spain, scoring 14 goals in his first 15 Madrid games, surpassing the tallies of club legends Alfredo Di Stefano and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I feel at home in the city,” Bellingham said. “My family are comfortable. I’ve had friends over who’ve really enjoyed the city. The fans are really respectful, they treat me so nicely, which I’m really grateful for, and obviously with the team and the staff, I feel like I’ve been here for years.
“I’m really happy with the start. It’s just about maintaining it now over the course of one season, and many seasons to come, at this great club.”
Real Madrid face a run of games this month which could define their season. They host Atlético Madrid in LaLiga on Sunday, before playing Girona at the Bernabéu on Feb. 10, followed by their Champions League round of 16 first leg at RB Leipzig three days later.