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Champions League Final: ‘Elegant’ Bellingham will fight for Ballon d’Or – Kaka

Former winner hails 'elegant' Englishman and his maturity on the field

Real Madrid football manager Carlo Ancelotti

‘Incredible’ Jude Bellingham deserves to fight for the Ballon d’Or this year, according to former Real Madrid and Brazil star Kaka.

The 2007 winner – the last man to win it before a decade of Messi and Ronaldo dominance – praised the 20-year-old Englishman, who is preparing for Saturday’s Champions League Final against Dortmund at Wembley.

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The Brazilian said Bellingham shows maturity beyond his years and plays with a calm confidence which means he deserves to be on the shortlist for the biggest individual honour in the game, which will be awarded in Paris on October 28.

Bellingham won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup in his first season with Madrid and scored injury-time winners in both El Classico encounters against Barcelona.

Bellingham and Real Madrid teammate Vinicius Jr are the front-runners for the award, ahead of teammate Toni Kroos, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Florian Wirtz, with many expecting the ultimate pecking order to be decided by England’s fortunes at Euro 2024 and Brazil’s results in the Copa America.

Kaka had a four-year spell at the Bernabeu, sandwiched between two stellar spells with Milan, and told Sky Sports how impressed he was with the former Birmingham and Dortmund youngster.

“Jude is incredible,” he said. “He’s a very, very good player. He’s very young but seems very mature on the field.

“He’s plays with this elegance, he seems very mature – he seems that he understands the game very well, he’s not nervous on the field, he has always been very confident.

“I think he will fight to be the Ballon d’Or and be the best player of the year.”

Bellingham’s manager Carlo Ancelotti was Kaka’s coach during his greatest seasons at the San Siro and he described the Italian as ‘special.’

“For me it’s the way he manages the group. I won’t say secret but it’s something he’s very special at, he has this ability to manage players, different players, top players

“it’s very hard when you have a changing room like Real Madrid’s changing room – everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be special, everyone has their own interests.

“Ancelotti drives that changing room in the same direction. Everyone can understand if the team wins, everybody wins. That’s what makes him special.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.