For the longest time, there have been discussions over who football’s GOAT is and arguments over whether it should be Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. With the two stars having left a lasting impact on the football world, fans are looking for the sport’s next rising stars. Many football fans believe that the sport’s newest GOATs that will follow in the footsteps of Messi and Ronaldo are Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland.
At the ripe age of 19, Mbappé helped lead France to a World Cup victory in 2018, by scoring four goals throughout the seven games in the tournament. The French native had become the second teenager ever to score a goal in the World Cup final, following Pelé’s accomplishment in 1958. Mbappé currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain and came in third place for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award and was the runner-up for the 2022 Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
This year, the football world has seen Erling Haaland have a remarkable season as he helped his team clinch the treble following their victories in the European Cup, Premier League, and FA Cup. The 23-year-old has broken numerous records, including achieving the most Premier League goals in a single season with 36 goals and being the fastest player to score 25 goals in the Premier League following 19 games.
While Mbappé and Haaland have had extremely impressive football careers, there is one player in particular who has quickly been rising to greatness in the football world. In June 2023 English-native Jude Bellingham signed a six-year £88.5 million contract with Real Madrid, ending his three seasons with Borussia Dortmund. The young star joined what is widely considered the best football club in the world.
Since his transfer, Bellingham has showcased his raw talent while playing on the world’s greatest football stage. The 20-year-old star made a record-breaking debut when he recently surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of the most goals scored in his first fifteen games with Real Madrid. This accomplishment came following his 14th goal of the season during his game against Cádiz CF, helping him break Ronaldo’s record of 13 goals. Additionally, the young star has scored 15 goals and provided four assists in just 16 games with Real Madrid.
Throughout his first four Champions League appearances, the English native has become the very first player to score a goal for Real Madrid in each game. This is not the first time Bellingham broke records in the Champions League. At just 17 years old, he became the youngest English player to score and star in the Champions League when he played for Dortmund.
Jude started his professional football career at 16 when he made his first debut for Birmingham City in August 2019. Since that debut, the 20-year-old has continued to prove how talented he is. On October 30, 2023, Bellingham became the first English player to receive the 2023 Ballon d’Or Kopa Trophy which is awarded to the best-performing football player worldwide under the age of 21. Additionally, the 20-year-old also received the Golden Boy award, which recognizes the player who establishes themself as the best under-21 footballer in the world.
With the UEFA EURO 2024 being hosted in Germany next summer, football fans will watch in anticipation as Bellingham joins England and competes for his home country. England has yet to win the Euros, as the furthest the team has gotten was the finals in the UEFA EURO 2020 and the national team has not won a World Cup since 1966. The addition of Jude will be vital to England as the national team needs to strengthen their roster if they hope to win the UEFA EURO 2024. If the team clinches the EURO 2024 title with the help of Bellingham, the 20-year-old will have proven himself to be a bigger star than Mbappé and Haaland and will need to continue to prove himself against football legends Messi and Ronaldo.
Jude Bellingham is still in the early stages of his career as he made his professional debut four years ago. The young star got signed by one of football’s greatest clubs, Real Madrid, broke one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s records, and has received two of the most prestigious awards for someone his age. In addition to these accomplishments, Bellingham has continuously been proving on the field just how much talent he possesses at such a young age. In the four short years following his first professional debut, the English native has quickly proven that he has what it takes to be the football world’s next GOAT.