When Real Madrid spent more than $140 million for Jude Bellingham, the Spanish powerhouse was confident it had locked up the heir to Luka Modric in the midfield for years to come.
The 14-time European champions hadn’t counted on also getting a streak scorer.
Bellingham debuted for Madrid less than a month ago, but the 20-year-old England player looks like he has been playing for his new team much, much longer given his impact on the field.
Bellingham, who now wears the No. 5 formerly owned by Zinedine Zidane in Madrid’s all-white, has scored in all three games the team has played this season. He sealed a 2-0 win at Athletic Bilbao in his debut, struck twice in a 3-1 comeback at Almeria, and then headed in a late winner to down Celta Vigo 1-0 on the road.
That total of four goals makes Bellingham the Spanish league’s top scorer.
“Bellingham is insane,” Madrid defender David Alaba said last week. “I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless.”
With each goal, all in away games, Bellingham approached the section of visiting fans and raised his arms wide to soak up the applause of Madrid’s traveling supporters.
On Saturday, Bellingham will feel the love from the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the first time when Madrid hosts crosstown rival Getafe.
Bellingham, who joined Madrid on a 130 million euro ($142 million) move from Borussia Dortmund, scored eight goals in 31 Bundesliga games last season. He is well on pace to beat that mark.
Bellingham and forward Rodrygo will have even more pressure on them to produce goals after Vinícius Júnior endured a muscle injury to his right leg at Bilbao. Madrid had already lost Thibaut Courtois and Éder Militão to long-term leg injuries.
Getafé held Barcelona to a scoreless draw in their season opener. It has lost at Girona 3-0 and beaten Alaves 1-0 at home since.
Getafe coach José Bordalás knows that his disciplined defense will be well tested by Bellingham.
“We already knew he was a magnificent player, but wow, what a signing,” Bordalás told Cadena SER radio. “Look at the runs he makes, his movement, his ability to join the attack. Madrid made a great decision to sign him.”
Madrid leads the league with nine points, followed by Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and a surprising Girona, all two points behind.
Barcelona visits Osasuna on Sunday with teenager Lamine Yamal enjoying a breakout start to the season.
The forward became the youngest starter in the history of Barcelona two weekends ago at 16 years, 38 days. Yamal then impressed by playing a role in two goals by teammates in a 4-3 win at Villarreal.
Atletico hosts Sevilla on Sunday following its 7-0 rout of Rayo Vallecano.
Sevilla, which won the Europa League in May, has lost all four games it has played this season, including falling to Manchester City in the European Super Cup.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer