Jude Bellingham v Zinedine Zidane: Who had the better start for Real Madrid?
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Jude Bellingham v Zinedine Zidane: Who had the better start for Real Madrid?

Jude Bellingham has, without a doubt, impressed beyond belief for Real Madrid since joining Spain from Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Expectations were high for Bellingham ahead of his move to Madrid, with many expecting him to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Zinedine Zidane, in dominating the midfield for Los Blancos.

That’s exactly what’s happened since his move from Germany, with the Englishman even playing more advanced, almost as a striker, since joining the club. Carlo Ancelotti, his manager, has said that Bellingham is the ‘best player in the world’, so higher-ups are clearly very happy with this piece of business.

As noted, Bellingham’s incredible performances for Real so far have earned comparisons to Zizou, but who actually had the better start for the Spanish giants? Join bwin as we investigate…

Jude Bellingham’s start for Real Madrid

Bellingham joined Real Madrid this summer, and has played just shy of 30 games for the club at the time of writing. During those games, Bellingham has played mainly as an attacking midfielder, and that’s been reflected in his goal returns.

In his first 28 games, which have come in the Champions League, La Liga, Supercopa and Copa del Rey, Bellingham has scored 18 goals and assisted a further eight. He’s averaging a goal or assist, at the time of writing, every 96 minutes, which is incredibly impressive for a midfielder in his first season in a new league.

Bellingham also already has a trophy to his name in Spain, the Spanish Super Cup, which Real Madrid won in January 2024 after beating Barcelona 4-1 in the final.

So far, Bellingham has seriously impressed during his limited time in Spain, proving to be worth every penny of the fee that Real Madrid invested in his signature, which could rise to over £100m if various clauses are met.

But how does Bellingham’s fantastic start compare to what Zidane did in his first season at the club?

Zinedine Zidane’s start for Real Madrid

Zidane joined Real Madrid for a fee of around €77.5m from Juventus in the summer of 2001, a world record fee at the time. The Frenchman also came to the club with a tonne of expectation, but did he deliver?

In his first season, also playing either as an attacking midfielder or off the left, Zidane featured in 49 games, scoring 12 goals and assisting a further 15. Zizou, during his first season, averaged a goal or assist every 149 minutes, which is incredibly impressive, but isn’t quite as good as as Bellingham’s average across his first 28 games.

While he didn’t win any domestic silverware, Zidane did announce himself on the big stage by scoring in the final of the Champions League against Leverkusen, with his volley still being remembered today, over 20 years later, as one of the best goals in the history of the competition.

Raul opened the scoring for Real in the 8th minute, before defender Lucio levelled the scoring just six minutes later. Zidane then rose to the occasion and scored the winning goal for Los Blancos, cementing himself as a club legend from that point forward.

Zidane ended up playing five seasons for Real Madrid, before ending his career after the 2006 World Cup final. He played 230 games across his career for the European giants, scoring 49 games. With time on his side, Bellingham will be confident that he can match, or even surpass, Bellingham’s goal tally.

It’s hard to fully say who was better in their first seasons with Real Madrid, but Zidane and Bellingham are quite similar in a lot of ways. Both men wear the number five on their backs, but it’s their quality on the ball, their ability to lead their team and change a game at the drop of a hat that sets them apart.

Zidane ended his first season with Real Madrid as a Champions League winner, and Bellingham will be hoping to do the same come the final at Wembley Stadium on June 1. bwin has Real Madrid as the third-favourites to win Europe’s top cup competition, with odds of 11/2.

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All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publication.