For a second straight game since coming to Spain, Jude Bellingham raised his arms to soak up the love from his new Real Madrid fans after delivering goals in victories on the road.
Bellingham’s double inspired a 3-1 fightback at Almeria on Saturday and took his tally to three goals in two games since joining the Spanish league.
The 20-year-old England midfielder debuted for Madrid last weekend with a goal to seal a win at Athletic Bilbao in their season opener.
He improved on that superb start for the 14-time European champion with his brace and an assist at Almeria to help overturn an early goal by the modest host.
“I’m 10 times better than I was last season. I feel really comfortable with these players and I’m learning every day,” Bellingham said. “The level here is so high and I’m like a sponge, taking in everything my teammates tell me. That’s why I’ve started the season so well.”
Vinícius Júnior added a third goal to seal the victory after he received the ball from Bellingham.
Bellingham, who joined Madrid on a 130-million-euro ($142 million) move from Borussia Dortmund this summer, scored eight goals in the Bundesliga last season. He looks ready to surpass that mark.
Wearing the No. 5 of Madrid great Zinedine Zidane, Bellingham has immediately taken on a leading role on the field in Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The coach credited Bellingham’s character and the experience he has already accumulated at a young age, as key.
“His maturity, his personality and the three years he played in Germany are the reasons why he is adapting so well to our league and to our style,” Ancelotti said.
Madrid’s player wore T-shirts in support of Eder Militao, who tore a ligament in his left knee at Bilbao. That followed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois tearing a knee ligament in practice. Both will be sidelined for months after surgeries.
Former Real Madrid youth player Sergio Arribas gave Almeria a third-minute lead from a counterattack. Lucas Robertone sped down the left flank and crossed to the far post where Arribas headed past Andriy Lunin, who started while newcomer Kepa Arrizabalaga sat on the bench.
“It was going to be a difficult game for us,” Arribas said. “We tried to take the game at them … but if they have their opportunities, they will finish you off.”
Bellingham brought Madrid back in the 19th when he used his shoulder to control a header by Federico Valverde and shot off the turn to beat goalie Luis Maximiano.
Bellingham’s third goal in just 150 minutes with Madrid came when he slid between two defenders and used the side of his head to redirect a lobbed pass by Toni Kroos.
The youngster was not signed to be a major scorer. But he has shown he can produce goals as well, which surely comes as a more than pleasant surprise for a team that lost top scorer Karim Benzema.
Vinícius’ goal in the 73rd was a beauty. The Brazil forward beat Maximiano with a scooped shot from near the edge, which appeared to take a slight deflection before floating in.
“I hope that (my connection) with Jude can be like the one I had with Karim and produce so many goals and assists,” Vinicius said about his new teammate.
Madrid has another away game, at Celta Vigo on Friday, before Bellingham can have his home debut at the Santiago Bernabeu on September 2.
BENITEZ GETS POINT
Rafa Benitez’s Celta Vigo earned its first point after Oscar Mingueza snatched an injury-time equalizer to draw at Real Sociedad 1-1.
Sociedad was in charge after an early goal by Ander Barrenetxea. But Celta hemmed Sociedad into its box late. Goalkeeper Álex Remiro made several stops, including one to deny Mingueza, before the former Barcelona defender tapped in a deflected pass.
Sociedad, which qualified for the Champions League this season, also drew its home opener with Girona 1-1 after leading.
Nico Williams set up early goals by brother Inaki Williams and Gorka Guruzeta to help Athletic Bilbao win at Osasuna 2-0 in a game that both teams finished with 10 men.
Bilbao played the final 30 minutes a man down after Oihan Sancet earned his second booking. Osasuna’s Chimy Avila got a direct red card in stoppage time for a dangerous studs-first tackle.
- Aston Villa makes official complaint to UEFA after Legia Warsaw violence
- Al Hilal vs Al Nassr LIVE Score, HIL 0-0 NAS, Saudi Pro League: Ronaldo’s shot saved by Bono, all square at HALF TIME in Riyadh derby
- India Women’s squads for Tests, England T20Is announced: Saika Ishaque, Shubha Satheesh get maiden call-ups
- SA vs IND: Sai Sudharsan ‘lost for words’ after maiden India call-up for South Africa ODIs
- F1’s Williams Racing re-signs Logan Sargeant for 2024