Bellingham: Strike-partner Vinny ‘best in world’

Jude Bellingham praised his partnership with Vinícius Júnior — calling the forward the “best in the world” — after the pair were both on the scoresheet in Real Madrid‘s 3-2 Champions League win at Napoli on Tuesday.

The England international provided the assist for Vinicius to level after Leo Ostigard had put the hosts ahead at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium, and Bellingham put Madrid 2-1 up with a spectacular solo effort before half-time.

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Piotr Zielinski made it 2-2 from the penalty spot before Federico Valverde‘s shot rebounded off goalkeeper Alex Meret into the net to give Madrid all three points, leaving them top of Group C.

“He’s probably the best in the world for me,” Bellingham told Movistar, when asked about his developing partnership with Vinicius. “He’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever played with.”

Bellingham has now scored eight goals in his first nine Real Madrid games in all competitions.

“I believe in myself, but I didn’t know it would be this good,” he said. “I owe it to the staff and my teammates.”

Bellingham’s goal — which saw the midfielder pick up the ball just inside the opposition half before embarking on a mazy solo run — drew comparisons with Napoli and Argentina great Maradona.

“That’s a bit too much!” Bellingham said. “It was a nice goal. From what I’ve seen on YouTube and documentaries, his quality was a bit more than mine, or a lot more. I’m just trying to contribute in a Jude way.”

“What’s surprising is he’s only 20,” coach Carlo Ancelotti said, when asked about Bellingham. “It seems like he’s 30 with his character, his personality. He’s always focused, he knows what he has to do. That’s strange for a player who’s just 20. And then the quality he has, the physical strength.

“Obviously it’s a bit surprising, it’s surprising everyone.”

Bellingham and Vinicius have only been able to play together in five games so far, after the Brazilian missed a month with a hamstring injury before returning last week.

“We ask Vinicius to find the position where he feels best, on the outside or the inside, and Bellingham adapts,” Ancelotti said. “I think they combined well, they have a lot of creativity. When we have them both together on the left, we’re dangerous.”

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