- 19-year-old Jude Bellingham is one of 26 finalists on the shortlist for the FIFA FIFPRO Men's World 11, thanks to peer vote
- English midfielder aiming for a World 11 place on the back of superb performances for Borussia Dortmund, and at Qatar 2022
- World 11 to be revealed on Monday 27 February at The Best FIFA Football Awards
Jude Bellingham is one of the most promising young talents in the world. The England midfielder’s name was already on everyone’s lips thanks to his impressive performances at Borussia Dortmund, but what gave him an edge worldwide was his appearance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
At just 19 he was in the running for the Best Young Player award in Qatar, although in the end Argentina’s Enzo Fernandez took the accolade. But on Monday 27 February Bellingham is in the running for an award once again: the FIFA FIFPRO Men’s World 11, the team of the year voted for by professional footballers around the globe.
Bellingham is already on the shortlist of 26 finalists thanks to the votes of thousands of players. The Men’s World 11, depicting the best players for the period 8 August 2021 to 18 December 2022 inclusive, will be revealed at the gala for The Best Football Awards 2022 to be held in Paris on Monday 27 February.
The competition in midfield is very strong, with Fernandez, already mentioned, as well as Luka Modric, Casemiro, Kevin De Bruyne, Gavi, Pedri and Federico Valverde.
A look back over the past year and a half of Bellingham’s career justifies both his candidacy and the worldwide talk about him, which includes rumours about a return to England, where he made his debut in 2019 and became the youngest footballer to play for Birmingham City.
The most recent memory is naturally the World Cup, where he showed his running skills, speed and ability to hurt opposing defenders by attacking spaces. And even his ability in front of goal: he put away a header to open the scoring in England’s 6-2 victory in their first match in Qatar against IR Iran.
This goal made him the second youngest player ever to score for England in a men’s World Cup and gave him a curious record: he is the first footballer born in the 21st century to celebrate a men’s World Cup goal.
He also made an assist — against Senegal — and played a direct part in the build-up to three more goals, a sign of how important his contribution was to the Three Lions reaching the quarter-finals.
At Dortmund, he was already on fire in the part of the season played before Qatar: in 22 matches he scored nine goals and made three assists, counting the Bundesliga — the team is fighting for the title — the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal (German Cup).
He even wore the captain’s armband twice during that period. In fact, when he scored against Sevilla he became the youngest captain to net a goal in the history of Europe’s top club competition.
The 2021/22 season was a memorable one for Bellingham, confirming his development as a player. Dortmund came second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and the midfielder provided three goals and eight assists in 32 matches. In the Champions League he added another goal and two more assists, as well as 2+2 in the Europa League.
“I got into the game at seven and didn’t really enjoy it. But I had a bit of raw talent and I went to Birmingham and they nurtured it perfectly until I was sixteen.”— by Jude Bellingham
The football world talks about Bellingham
"I don’t want to big up Jude Bellingham too much because he’s still young, but he’s one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen. He’s going to be the best midfielder in the world."
Phil Foden, England and Manchester City
"He played an exceptional World Cup. Absolutely exceptional. With all the things he has and things he can improve, to describe him I would say the things he can do are difficult to learn, and the things he can improve are easy to learn. He is a really good player."
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool manager
"He is a superb talent, what a football player. Very mature, very brave. He is as good as any midfielder at the moment."
Ashley Williams, former Wales captain
"He is the oldest 19-year-old I have ever seen."
Edin Terzic, Borussia Dortmund manager
"He is something special in terms of mentality. Everybody knows about his quality and skills. It’s not just about the goals, the whole package. I think he is really good."
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City manager