Bellingham impresses on Real debut in friendly win


Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid CF and Tommaso Pobega of AC Milan battle for the ball during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Real Madrid and AC Milan at Rose Bowl Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Pasadena, California.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti said Real Madrid are “lucky” to have the “fantastic” Jude Bellingham after the England midfielder impressed on debut in a 3-2 pre-season win against AC Milan in Los Angeles.

It was another Englishman, Fikayo Tomori, who got his name on the scoresheet, heading the opener for AC Milan, but two second-half goals from Federico Valverde and a superb winner from Vinicius Jr, who ran on to a sublime Luka Modric pass, sent the majority of fans in a 70,000 crowd at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena home happy.

Bellingham’s 62-minute debut had flashes of his natural technique and confidence, twice bringing roars of approval from the crowd and then praise from his manager Ancelotti.

In the opening stages Bellingham went on a mazy run by the touchline, leaving a couple of Milan defenders in his wake.

Then, as the opening period drew to a close, a brilliant first-time half-volleyed pass, blending dexterity and a sure touch in a crowded penalty area, almost put Brahim Diaz in on goal.

“It is rare to find player with this kind of quality,” Ancelotti said. “He is only 20, so he can improve. We are lucky to have him in our squad.

“He was fantastic. He has a lot of rhythm, moves well and has quality finding open spaces.”

Real paid Borussia Dortmund £88m to sign Bellingham on a six-year contract. They can already be assured the 20-year-old is the real deal.

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