Jude Bellingham: “I couldn’t turn down Real Madrid”

Jude Bellingham was presented as a Real Madrid player on Thursday in front of club directors, members and legends. He later on held a press conference with the media where he discussed why he picked Real Madrid, why he chose the number five shirt and much more.

Here’s his press conference in full:

Bellingham on picking Real Madrid

“The reason I said it’s the proudest day of my life is because it’s the greatest club in the history of the game. Not many players have the chance to play at such a club. So, I’m very grateful and thankful to the people who have brought me here and given me this opportunity. Money’s not a big thing for me. I don’t think about money when I make these kinds of decisions. I play for the love of the game. I loved the feeling I got from the club. I told them straight away what I felt about the club. It’s not the case that the other teams were bad or not good, but Real Madrid is the greatest. Of course, I’ve not just come here because of the size of the club, as it’s also the vision of the team. The ideas they presented were good and it’s an opportunity that I thought I couldn’t turn down. The club also showed great respect to my family and didn’t try and manipulate them in any way. It was a seamless process. So I’m just so grateful.”

Bellingham on the moment he decided to join Real Madrid

“I’ve always been aware of the interest from English teams and so that was pretty normal, but it was a bit of a surprise when my dad sat me down and said there was interest from Real Madrid. I think that was maybe 12 or 15 months ago. When he said that, I had goosebumps. I then had a meeting where they came to my house and I was sold. To be honest, I can’t really remember when that was. But yeah, that was the moment when for me it was definite. I have always been in admiration of the club, watching them win the Champions League. I was at the final when they beat Liverpool and that was another huge factor. But yeah, there’s a load of things really that go into making a decision to join this club.”

Bellingham on saying no to the Premier League

“It was tough, with all of my England teammates wanting to see me come back to England and play for their teams, which I really appreciate. It might have been an easier option to go back to England, my native country, and live there and play there in the Premier League. But it’s just I couldn’t turn down Real Madrid. I like the idea of being out of my comfort zone.”

Bellingham on how Real Madrid can help his England career

“I think from a national team point of view, it means that I’m going to experience playing in Spain. It’s a different culture of football, it’s a different style. It’s nice for me to be able to bring that to my England teammates. Gareth Southgate is someone that I’ve spoken to quite a bit recently, because of obviously the games coming up and myself not being available, and he’s always so supportive. We have a really good relationship. He texted me this morning actually just wishing me well.”

Bellingham on wearing the No.5 shirt

“I’d like to thank Jesús Vallejo for letting me wear the No.5. I had some contact with him to see if it was ok to take it. He was very nice about it, so I’m thankful to him. I’ve always said how much I admire Zinedine Zidane and I’m not trying to be the same as him, as I’m just trying to be Jude, but it is a type of homage to a player I really appreciated growing up. He was the best. I’m trying to just extend the legacy of the number, rather than reach his. I didn’t want to disturb Zidane too much and, if he had let me, I would have probably talked his ear off for three or four hours. He’s an amazing person.”

Bellingham on the pressure of playing for Real Madrid

“I see it as a brilliant responsibility rather than pressure. So I’ll embrace that. In terms of my maturity, I think when you’re playing in a professional environment and with grown men from the age of 15 or 16 then you learn to grow up fast and understand responsibility sooner. At Dortmund, I’ve been given bigger roles with each year and I’ve adapted well to them because of the teammates, because of my family, because of the coaches. They tell me what it takes to be able to carry this responsibility, so I hope to continue that here.”

Bellingham on the high transfer fee

Asked some more about the pressure, in relation to the high fee, he replied: “It depends what newspaper you read to find the real price. It’s not something I’m concerned about. I’m never really interested in knowing what exactly the fee is. For me, it doesn’t matter how much I’ve come here for, the objective is the same. It’s to win trophies, and it’s to help Real Madrid continue to be the biggest team in the world. I’m a footballer, not a lawyer or an accountant, and my job is to take care of business out on the pitch.”

Bellingham on his style of play

“I feel like I’m a midfielder that can do a little bit of everything. Whatever the coach wants me to do, I’ll do it. I think probably one of my biggest strengths is that I can give you a wider range of skills and hopefully I can show that in a Real Madrid shirt wherever the coach wants me to play.”

Bellingham on learning from Modrić and Kroos

“The things I’ll gain from Modrić and Kroos will be unbelievable. Their knowledge of the game, the way they play it and their experience will be so great for me and I’ll be like a sponge around them, trying to steal anything they’ve got. They’ll probably be annoyed with me after the first week or so, but I can’t wait to learn from those guys. I think it’s a great squad. From what I’ve heard from everyone in the club, the players are not just good players but great people as well and that’s really important. So, I look forward to linking up with all of them.”

Bellingham on working with Ancelotti

“I’ve had a little bit of contact with him. I think he’s just an incredible coach, with his CV and all the trophies he’s won. For me, it’s a brilliant opportunity to come and learn from one of the greatest coaches ever. So I’m very looking forward to that and very grateful that he wants me in his squad.”

Bellingham on the Kane and Mbappé rumours

“As far as the Harry Kane rumours, I can’t comment on that. He’s a world-class player, my captain for the national team, and I love him as a player and as a person. But, it’s not really for me to comment about. It’s the same with Mbappé. I can’t really comment. I don’t know his situation. I’ve seen some of it on the Internet and on Twitter. If anything, my whole saga has taught me that not everything that you see online is true, so don’t take it word for word. In all honesty, he’s a great player and whatever he chooses to do, all the best to him. Would I like to play with a player like Kylian Mbappé? Who wouldn’t?”

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