England international Jude Bellingham is arguably one of the hottest prospects in the footballing world right now. At only 18, the former Birmingham City midfielder plays with flair and conviction that belies his infirm age.
He’s even already drawn a fair bit of controversy as well, after criticizing match referee Felix Zwayer following Borussia Dortmund’s recent 3-2 defeat to rival Bayern Munich.
And now, Bellingham has come out with a statement aimed at the public at large, especially those who are single-minded about statistics when it comes to football.
During an interview with FootballJOE, the 18-year-old Englishman selected Zinedine Zidane as one of his picks when asked to select a five-a-side team, and used the French maestro as an example to insinuate that the game of football was more than just about statistics.
“You talk about elegance, there are players that score a goal a game and assist,” said Bellingham.
“But I think people have forgotten about the beautiful side of football where it’s not all about stats and you can just sit and watch them. I think there was no one that was better than him really in terms of that.”
An all-time great, Zidane had led France to a World Cup and European glory, and almost won them another World Cup despite never really having the distinct statistics to back his influence on the pitch.
In much the same breath, Bellingham’s paltry statistics at Borussia Dortmund doesn’t do justice to the influence he has had on the team ever since arriving in Germany.
And there’s no doubt that many fans will rightfully concur with Bellingham’s statement, who might feel that this obsession with stats and figures is a post-Ronaldo/Messi phenomenon.
With fans of both players constantly vying to prove the ascendency of one over the other, there seems to be no end to this morbid obsession.
Long gone are the days when players stood out on the pitch without necessarily having to score or assist, and Bellingham was correct in subtly hinting at this travesty.