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‘Stupendous’ Jude Bellingham confirms status as a generational talent with injury time winner for Real Madrid in El Clásico

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — Jude Bellingham has enjoyed a fairytale start to his career at Real Madrid but the 20-year-old confirmed his status as one of soccer’s brightest stars with a dramatic match-winning performance in El Clásico on Saturday as his club defeated Barcelona 2-1.

Deep into injury time, he latched onto Luka Modrić’s cross and volleyed a late winner into the net to sink Barcelona and prompt wild celebrations on and off the field.

It was Bellingham’s second goal of the game after he had equalized in the 68th minute – receiving the ball outside the box, controlling it with a tap and languidly unleashing a powerful strike into the back of the net.

“Another comeback,” he told Real’s website after the match. “I love them. It’s hard on the heart, but they’re fun games. We gave it our all, we didn’t give up and I’m very happy.”

He has now scored 13 goals in 13 games for Real Madrid this season, 10 of those in La Liga making him the league’s top scorer.

“He could easily score 20 or 25 goals,” manager Carlo Ancelotti told Real’s website afterwards. “We don’t think of him as a striker, but he’s a very important player for us.”

When Bellingham signed with Real Madrid in June for €103 million ($110.4m), plus additional fees, expectations were high of the young attacking midfielder.

But he has so far surpassed even the highest expectations, shapeshifting into one of Europe’s most prolific goalscorers as his defensive play has taken a backseat in Madrid, each additional layer of pressure serving to only improve his performances.

As a child, Bellingham watched Clásicos from the sofa with his family. “I told them before the match, today it was my turn to live it firsthand and do something great,” he said, according to Real Madrid’s website. “I’ve done that and I’m very happy.”

Still just 20, it wasn’t that long ago that Bellingham was watching those matches as a fan but he is rapidly becoming one of the best players for club and country alike, steering England to a 3-1 victory against Italy last week.

And it is his maturity and decision-making, as much as skill on the pitch, that is drawing praise from his manager at Real Madrid.

“We’re all surprised at the level he’s at, especially in terms of how effective he’s been,” Ancelotti told the club’s website.

“He looks like a veteran. His attitude is very good. The closer he is to the box, the better it is for him. He’s the player who has made the biggest difference.”

“Today he was stupendous and shocked everyone with his wonderful goal from the edge of the area,” added Ancelotti, per Reuters.

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