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Why Jude Bellingham Chooses the Number Five Shirt at Real Madrid

CEO Tinh Phung
Jude Bellingham shining in the number five shirt for Real Madrid (Picture: Getty) Jude Bellingham is making waves at Real Madrid, and it's not just because he wears the iconic number five on his back....

General Sport Jude Bellingham shining in the number five shirt for Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

Jude Bellingham is making waves at Real Madrid, and it's not just because he wears the iconic number five on his back. The young England star, who will be joining the Three Lions squad for Euro 2024, is following in the footsteps of club legend Zinedine Zidane, who famously sported the number during his time at the club.

But interestingly, Bellingham's preference was initially the number 22, which he had worn throughout his career at Birmingham City and Borussia Dortmund. So why the change? Let's delve into the history behind Bellingham's choice of shirt number and his decision to wear number five at Real Madrid.

Why does Jude Bellingham wear the number five shirt?

For much of his career, Bellingham has been synonymous with the number 22. This was the number he wore at Birmingham City and later at Borussia Dortmund. However, upon joining Real Madrid last summer, the number 22 shirt was not available as it was already taken by former Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

Bellingham revealed that his decision to opt for the number five shirt was a tribute to the great Zinedine Zidane. In his unveiling, he stated, "I've expressed in many interviews how much I admire Zinedine Zidane and the legacy he has at the club with this number. I'm just being myself, but it's definitely a homage to how great he was. In my heart, I'm still number 22, just with the number five on my back."

Why did Jude Bellingham wear the number 22 shirt?

Bellingham first sported the number 22 when he broke into the Birmingham City first team at the tender age of 16, becoming their youngest-ever player. The choice of number reflected the club's belief that Bellingham possessed the qualities of a holding midfielder (4), box-to-box midfielder (8), and attacking midfielder (10).

Mike Dodds, head of development at Birmingham City, recalled, "I remember his first session as a seven-year-old. I thought, 'Yeah, he's alright, not too bad.' It wasn't until he was around 13 that you started to realize, 'This boy is very good.' Like most boys that age, he wanted to be a number 10. We had a conversation with him and said, 'We think you can do all of it.' So we came up with the idea of him being a 22 [4 + 8 + 10]. His eyes lit up, and we knew we had him hooked from then on."

After Bellingham's move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020 for an initial £25 million, Birmingham City decided to retire the number 22 shirt as a tribute to their star academy graduate. Despite having only played one season in the first team, the retirement of his shirt was fully supported by Bellingham himself.

Reflecting on the decision, Bellingham said, "They told me, 'No one will take it until you get back to Birmingham.' I was like, 'Really?' I had a good year, but it was nothing extraordinary. But I understand the position and the decision."

The club justified the retirement, stating, "Jude has become an iconic figure at Blues, showing what can be achieved through talent, hard work, and dedication. His caring, humble, and engaging off-the-field demeanor has also made him such an impressive role model. The 22 shirt has become synonymous with Jude, his rise to the first team at just 16 years and 38 days old, and these qualities. As such, the club has decided it would be fitting to retire this number, to remember one of our own and to inspire others."

Jude Bellingham's journey in football and his choice of shirt numbers are a testament to his talent and the impact he has had on the clubs he represents. As he continues to shine in the number five shirt at Real Madrid, he carries the legacy of Zinedine Zidane while keeping the number 22 close to his heart.

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