Barcelona legend claims Jude Bellingham didn't deserve Golden Boy award and names two more worthy winners
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Jude Bellingham has been told he did not deserve to win the 2023 Golden Boy award.
He's since scored a staggering 13 goals in 14 games for Real Madrid and excelled for England.
The Birmingham academy graduate became the third Three Lions star to win the gong - following in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling.
But although he admires him as a player, former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov does not believe Bellingham was the rightful winner.
Instead he thinks it should have gone to Jamal Musiala or Alejandro Balde.
"Since Gavi was not eligible by regulation, the award should have been given to Musiala or Balde," he told Mundo Deportivo.
“I do not dispute Bellingham’s value. He is one of the strongest talents in the world: he has a lot of class and a lot of brain. For me, he is a mix between Laudrup, Kaka, and Paul Pogba. The future is his. He will fight with [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland for the next Ballon d’Or, but I would like to know what he won in 2023 between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. Nothing. "What success have all these goals brought to Real Madrid? You know well what my friend [Jose] Mourinho would say about the ‘titles’."
Stoichkov, who won the Ballon d'Or in 1994, used Dortmund's final day title collapse as an example.
Bellingham, who was unable to play any part due to injury, was reduced to tears after Dortmund lost the title on goal difference when they failed to beat Mainz at the Signal Iduna Park.
Musiala was the hero for Bayern, coming off the bench to score a late winner.
He continued: "Shall we talk then about how the last Bundesliga ended? Borussia Dortmund had a two-point lead over Bayern when there were 90 minutes left in the championship.
"They were playing at home against Mainz, while the Bavarians were in Cologne. "What happened with five minutes left? [Thomas] Tuchel introduced Musiala, who in the final stretch scored the 3-2 for Bayern while Borussia did not go beyond a 2-2 draw at home and goodbye to the title due to goal difference.”