June 15, 2023 | By Fernando Kallas |
MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid officially confirmed the signing of England midfielder Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in a deal worth 103 million euros ($111.29 million) plus add-ons, the Spanish giants said.
Bellingham, who will sit out England’s upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers due to injury, will be unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Thursday at noon local time after signing a six-year contract.
Dortmund said they had reached an agreement with Real last week in a deal that includes add-ons that could increase the total amount by up to 30%.
Bellingham is the third player signed by Real Madrid for a fee of at least 100 million euros after Gareth Bale (2013) and Eden Hazard (2019).
“Our club have signed one of the greatest talents in the world, a midfielder who comes from Borussia Dortmund and arrives at Madrid after being voted the best player in the Bundesliga,” Real said in a statement.
“Moreover, at only 19 years of age, he is already a starter in the English national team.”
Bellingham, who had been linked with several major European clubs, joined Dortmund from Birmingham City in 2020 for 25 million pounds ($31.17 million), becoming the most expensive 17-year-old in football history.
An all-action midfielder with exceptional ball control skills, Bellingham quickly became a regular in the Dortmund side, anchoring the midfield and starting over 30 Bundesliga games in each of his last two seasons in Germany.
His performances caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate, who made Bellingham the youngest English player to represent his country at a major tournament during Euro 2020, which took place a year later than scheduled due to the pandemic.
Bellingham soon became a permanent fixture in England’s midfield, playing all five games at the World Cup in Qatar where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by France.
Bellingham was linked with Premier League clubs who wanted to bring him back to England, including Liverpool whose manager Juergen Klopp said in April that they were forced to pull out of the race to sign him due to his price tag.
At Real Madrid, he will join a side rich in young midfield talent such as Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni.
Real, record 14-times European champions, are in the process of rebuilding their squad following high-profile exits such as Karim Benzema, Hazard, Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz.
($1 = 0.9255 euros)
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, editing by Pritha Sarkar)