Saturday was a special day for Real Madrid, as the Spanish giants reopened their Bernabeu home following a £500m refurbishment that began back in 2019.
Club president Florentino Perez had promised to create the greatest stadium in the world. It is now a spectacular space-age arena, complete with a retractable roof, which remained closed for Saturday’s curtain-raising visit of Getafe amid autumnal storms.
But if Real fans had started the day ready to enjoy their sparkling revamped home, they also came to salute their new hero: Jude Bellingham.
When the season started three weeks ago, the Englishman became an instant hit by scoring on his debut at Athletic Bilbao, added two more in a victory at Almeria, and then netted a late winner at Celta Vigo to secure three straight away wins.
Bellingham has settled quickly. Real fans have been impressed by the 20-year-old’s attitude and maturity, as well as by his form.
After the opening day win in Bilbao, manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “He has a lot of personality and has adapted very quickly. It already seems like he’s been with us for a long time.”
Two more signs of that fast integration have followed – one off the pitch, one on it. Last week, Bellingham took advantage of a couple of days off by enjoying a mini-holiday in the south of France with his new team-mates Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni.
Then Bellingham was named La Liga’s player of the month for August, setting the stage for his home debut at the Bernabeu’s grand reopening.