Jude Bellingham’s first ELCLASICO in the Bernabéu

Although Jude Bellingham has already played FC Barcelona twice as a Real Madrid player and won on both occasions, Sunday’s game at the Bernabéu will be extra special for him. It will be his first ELCLASICO in front of his home fans and he will finally enjoy the experience of a Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona game in Spain’s capital, with the stands packed to the rafters and with the LALIGA EA SPORTS title at stake. It’ll be a golden opportunity to further underline his hero status in front of the Real Madrid fans.

His first season at Real Madrid is exceeding expectations. He was already the key man in the first ELCLASICO of the season in Catalonia, where he scored two goals to turn the game around and give Carlo Ancelotti’s team all three points. His trademark celebration, standing with his arms raised, was seen that day and has become very popular, with so many copying him, from kids in school playgrounds to fellow professionals. That’s a sign of how important the Englishman has been in this brilliant debut season.

Although Girona FC striker Artem Dovbyk has now scored 17 goals and overtaken Bellingham, who has 16, in the Pichichi Trophy standings, there are seven rounds remaining in this final stretch. He’ll try to reclaim top spot and become the second midfielder in the history of LALIGA EA SPORTS to finish as top scorer, after Luis Aragonés in 1970.  Of his seven remaining opponents, he scored against four of them in the first half of this season: FC Barcelona, Cádiz CF, Villarreal CF and Real Betis.

In the match against FC Barcelona, he will once again be a key presence in Ancelotti’s midfield, as he has been all season. The Italian coach has invented a space in his scheme for the Englishman to act as a playmaker and he has 16 goals and four assists in LALIGA EA SPORTS, or 20 goals and 10 assists if looking across all competitions.

At the Bernabéu, he will come up against the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and İlkay Gündoğan, who’ll try to stop Bellingham from playing his usual game. Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are the two teams with the most passes in the competition this season, with 18,823 for Ancelotti’s side and 18,732 for Xavi’s, so the battle for control of the ball will be fascinating.

A first LALIGA EA SPORTS title is within Bellingham’s grasp, as his side are eight points clear of FC Barcelona and could end up 11 ahead if they win Sunday’s ELCLASICO. This is very much the business end of the season, when star players are expected to show up. It’s for these kinds of moments that he signed for Real Madrid, to play and win these games. The attention of the fans and opposition will be on him, as Bellingham’s skill is no longer a surprise factor. He’ll always remember his first ELCLASICO at the Bernabéu, and he hopes the memories are fond ones.

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