Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham (20) has told France Football that he was surprised when he learned that formative club Birmingham City would retire his #22 shirt upon his departure.
Bellingham came through the ranks at Birmingham City before going on to make 44 appearances for the first team. However, his performances in the Championship quickly caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund, who signed the Englishman for around €25m in the summer of 2020.
‘This money saved the club from disappearing’ – Bellingham
The Blues made the decision to retire the #22 shirt worn by Bellingham during his only full season with the first team. In an interview with France Football, Bellingham revealed his initial surprise at that decision. “I found out about it a day before the rest of the world. We had a little goodbye dinner. My shirt was shown to the stadium and they told me ‘No one will wear this until you come back to Birmingham.’ I was like (seeming surprised) ‘Really?’ I had a good season (2019-20) but it wasn’t extraordinary. I was looking around me like ‘But are we allowed to do that?’ It put me under a bit of pressure,” said Bellingham.
However, as Bellingham later acknowledges, the fee that he garnered from Borussia Dortmund “saved the club, which was in a difficult position.”
“This money saved the club from disappearing,” added Bellingham, who won the Kopa Trophy at the end of October. The Real Madrid midfielder beat Jamal Musiala and Pedri to the award, which is awarded to the best player in the world under the age of 21.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle