31 May 2024

Claude Makelele tips Jude Bellingham for Ballon D’Or after ‘amazing’ season

31 May 2024

Former Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele has tipped Jude Bellingham to win the Ballon D’Or.

The 20-year-old has had a remarkable debut season at the Bernabeu, scoring 23 goals in all competitions and could cap it off by winning the Champions League on home soil at Wembley on Saturday against Borussia Dortmund.

Few would have expected Bellingham to make such an impact during his first year in Spain and, with a strong performance for England at Euro 2024, Makelele thinks he could claim the biggest individual prize in the game.

“He is a future Ballon D’Or if he continues like this,” the Frenchman told the PA news agency. “He can take it, if he wins the Champions League and has a great Euros, I think he will be the winner of the Ballon D’Or.

“I am so impressed with what he has done. First with the quality he has, then the leadership and how he adapted to LaLiga and Madrid.

“No one has done this before. To do what he has done is amazing.

“A young player like this, he has many years of great football. Also for the national team it will be great to see him play.”

Bellingham will have to perform for England if they are to have a successful tournament in Germany.

But Makelele believes boss Gareth Southgate has to take the reins off him.

“For England he can be great, it is important for him to play the way he does with Real Madrid,” he added.

“For the national team he needs to have the capacity for the manager to give him this possibility, to have the freedom he has at Real Madrid. All the quality he has for Real Madrid he can give to England, he will need his team-mates to defend him.

“He is a clever player and he will adapt to his team-mates in the national team.”

Makelele was appearing at the FedEx Activation at the Champions League fans festival on Regent Street, where the trophy was delivered along with the famous anthem.

“We walked with the trophy with the Champions League anthem playing and we spoke to many fans,” he said. “It was a new experience, but it was nice.”

:: Claude Makelele was speaking at the FedEx UEFA Champions League Trophy Delivery Activation in Regent Street, London. Learn more about how the UEFA Champions League trophy is delivered by FedEx ahead of the 2024 final by visiting fedex.com/UCL

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