Jude Bellingham explains Real Madrid choice amid Liverpool interest and admits 'conversations'

Jude Bellingham decided to join Real Madrid last summer.
Jude Bellingham decided to join Real Madrid last summer. -Credit:2024 Quality Sport Images

Liverpool's pursuit of Jude Bellingham lasted for a long time. The Reds had identified Bellingham as its next big purchase, ideally for the summer of 2023, and had been gently trying to win the player over for months.

However, Liverpool pulled out of the race to sign Bellingham around this time last year. It had become evident that the size of the rebuild needed in the club's midfield meant that the money allotted for a possible Bellingham transfer would have to be spent on signing several players.

Moreover, Liverpool was fighting it out with Manchester City and Real Madrid to win the player's signature. It couldn't offer the money of the former, and the latter always holds the biggest allure in the world game for players, especially as the Reds looked increasingly likely to miss out on Champions League football (as eventually they did).

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In the end, Bellingham decided to join Real Madrid. The midfielder has taken to life in La Liga with consummate ease, scoring 20 goals in all competitions for Los Blancos.

In the build-up to Madrid's Champions League quarter final second leg against City at the Etihad Stadium, Bellingham was asked about his decision to join the Spanish side. The Englishman declared it a 'no-brainer'.

“I had good chats with [other] clubs, including [his existing club] Dortmund,” said Bellingham in the pre-game press conference ahead of the City match. “My family were great in helping me chew up that information because it’s difficult while you are still in the season to take in the information and process it and still have to play.

“I had conversations with other teams but when Madrid came in it was a no-brainer really because of the size of the club, the project, the plan going forward, the chance to play with such amazing players. I just jumped at it. That’s why I made my decision.”

While Bellingham doesn't mention Liverpool by name, it's common knowledge that it was one of the sides in for the 20-year-old. And while most Reds fans have moved on from the saga, his decision to join Madrid instead of Liverpool no doubt still stings a little.

Liverpool later pivoted to other targets, and signed Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endō and Ryan Gravenberch instead, in what was a complete midfield reboot for the club.

Liverpool.com says: Considering Bellingham is still only 20, there is plenty of time for him to cement his legacy at Real Madrid before moving back to England, and should he do so, Liverpool will no doubt be in the hunt for the player. The allure of Madrid meant that Liverpool was always fighting a losing battle to sign him. The day might come when he dons the red shirt, but it won't be anytime soon unfortunately.

In the end, it's hard to argue with his logic either. At the time of Liverpool's pursuit, neither the quality nor the long-term project were perhaps quite as obvious, with the Reds set to be in a stronger position to recruit targets this summer.