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Real Madrid will hope Jude Bellingham avoids Golden Boy 'curse' which impacted Wayne Rooney

Chris Byfield

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Real Madrid will hope Jude Bellingham avoids Golden Boy 'curse' which impacted Wayne Rooney

Real Madrid and England will hope Jude Bellingham avoids the same fate as many previous Golden Boy winners.

This evening Bellingham will be presented with the 2023 Golden Boy award, given to the best under-21 player in Europe’s top flights.

Bellingham, who has scored 15 goals in 17 appearances for Real since a summer move from Borussia Dortmund, said: "I'd like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey so far at Birmingham, Dortmund and now Madrid. It wouldn't be possible without them.

"Lastly and most importantly my family who give me the support and motivation and love every day to keep striving.

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"Now I have this prestigious award I want to keep going. I want to keep pushing the limits of my potential and hopefully, many more trophies to come."

Bellingham is the first English player to win the award since Raheem Sterling in 2014, while other notable winners include Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

However, upon winning the Golden Ball, Three Lions and Los Blancos fans will hope Bellingham does not suffer the same fate as some of the other past recipients.

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The prize has also been claimed by several players, including Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Anderson, Alexandre Pato, Mario Gotze, Isco and Paul Pogba, who enjoyed incredible success at an early age only for their bodies to break down later in their career.

The likes of Rooney, Fabregas and Gotze all had to nurse a spate of injuries by their late twenties, partly due to the amount of play-time they had accumulated early in their careers.

And Bellingham, who has suffered knee and shoulder problems in the past year, played more minutes than any of the aforementioned players before the age of 20.

The PFA noted on X that compared to former and current high-profile English players, Bellingham’s workload during his teenage years was extremely high.

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Bellingham played over 14,445 minutes of football before his 20th birthday back in June.

That far exceeds the total of two former England wonderkids Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, who played 10,989 minutes and 9187 minutes respectively as teenagers, only to suffer early physical declines.

Real may look to take stock and manage Bellingham’s minutes to allow the youngster to fulfil his potential.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Jude Bellingham, Wayne Rooney, Real Madrid, England, Mario Gotze, Cesc Fabregas

Chris Byfield
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