Since the mid-2000s, the icons of world soccer have been Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They were the brightest stars until the 2010s.

In the 2020s, Kylian Mbappe (25, Paris Saint-Germain) and Elling Holland (23, Manchester City) took over the baton. Of course, Messi and Ronaldo are still making their mark outside of Europe, but few would deny their potential to dominate modern soccer in the next three to four years.

They’ve already built quite the legacy. Mbappe won the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while Holland won a treble and the English Premier League’s top scorer. They’ve cemented a supernova pairing.

But Jude Bellingham (20, Real Madrid) is looking to break the duopoly. His status as a world soccer icon is about to erupt into a three-way battle.

Bellingham scored the winning goal in Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Braga in the third leg of their 2023-24 UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group C match on Friday (Oct. 25).

The attacking midfielder, who played full-time on the day, found the back of the net for Braga with a right-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area in the 16th minute of the second half after leading 1-0.

The goal completed a three-game scoring streak in the UCL group stage this season, tying him with Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Rasmus Hojbjerg (Manchester United), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) and Bryce Mendes (Real Sociedad) for first place in the competition with three goals.

It took Bellingham 25 years to break the record. He became only the second Real player in history to find the back of the net in his first three UCL games after Christian Karembu (52) in 1998.

His performances in Spain have been equally impressive. He scored his debut goal in the season opener against arch-rivals Atletico Madrid and followed it up with back-to-back goals (five goals, one assist) in the opening four games. 온라인카지노

In nine games through the 10th round of the league, he has eight goals and two assists, including two multi-goal games. The attacking midfielder has overtaken strikers like Girasung to lead the league in goals. If you include his UCL record, it’s 11 goals and 3 assists in 12 games. Impeccable.

The praise for Bellingham continues to pour in. Several Spanish media outlets have compared him to Real senior Zinedine Zidane, 51, who reigned as the best attacking midfielder of his generation. Legendary Manchester United center back Rio Ferdinand also gave the thumbs up, saying “Bellingham is a talent who will win the Ballon d’Or at least three times in the future.” Everyone is smiling at the arrival of a midfielder with a contract.