“I once graced Real Madrid’s pitch – Vinicius deserves the Ballon d’Or more than Bellingham.”

“I once graced Real Madrid’s pitch – Vinicius deserves the Ballon d’Or more than Bellingham.”

Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham in Real Madrid kit with Ballon d'Or trophy

The battle for the Ballon d’Or has always been exciting. However, since Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s period of dominance around this award has finally concluded, it opens the door for a new group of players to fight for the title of the best footballer in the world.

Real Madrid are the masters of finding the best talent from around the globe, and this year two players have been labelled as some of the world’s best: Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Jr.

Both players have been nothing short of fantastic this season for Los Blancos. Bellingham’s midfield diversity to not only dominate the ball in the central areas but to also be able to propel himself forward and finish like a striker makes him one of the most dangerous players in the world. You cannot, however, dispute Vinicius’s importance to the squad. One of the most lethal finishers in the world, his pace and skill allow him to score chances that many players would not even be able to create.

Although both have combined this season – which has delivered them yet another La Liga title – they will both want to prove why they deserve to win this great honour. There is not a lot to separate these two generational talents but former Madrid star Julio Baptista has weighed in on the debate, telling Spanish outlet Marca who he believes is the difference-maker between these two starlets:

Bellingham Compared With Vinicius

Vinicius Jr Bellingham

Bellingham has had one of the best debut seasons at a club we have ever seen, let alone with that season being with Real Madrid. He has finished this season with 19 league goals and 6 assists, claiming the top scorer award for Los Blancos.

His ability is nothing short of outstanding. To achieve the accolades that he has is one thing, but to be considered as one of the best players in world football at just 20 years old is freakishly impressive.

However, as shown by the statistics, Baptista may have a point about Vinicius being more impressive during the big games for Real Madrid. Although Bellingham has been immense in all competitions this season, he has struggled in some of the bigger games he has played this year.

For example, many pointed out that in both games against Manchester City in the Champions League Quarter-Finals, Bellingham did not make much of an impact compared to his other teammates.

Race for Ballon d’Or Heats Up

The award is up for grabs

The Ballon d'Or trophy

The Ballon d’Or is awarded for the best performances across a season of football, and it is without question that both had a fantastic campaign. Either man would be a very deserving winner of the award, and with the Champions League final still to play, plus the Euros and Copa America, each player could further strengthen his claim.

Vinicius Jr finished the campaign with 15 league goals and 6 assists in the league, slightly less on both accounts than his teammate (albeit in two fewer games). However, the Brazilian has been one of the most influential players in this Real Madrid side in matches which have ultimately led them to the La Liga title and the Champions League final.

For example, in the fixtures against Manchester City, Vinicius assisted twice in the 3-3 draw in the first leg and then played a vital role in the second leg to ensure Los Blancos’ progression to the semi-finals. He then also scored twice in their first-leg victory over Bayern Munich and yet again played fantastically in the return fixture to send his side to Wembley.

These performances cannot go unnoticed. Although across the season Bellingham’s statistics better the Brazillian’s, Baptista may have a point with his argument that Vinicius’ impact in the bigger games. If that is the reason that he ultimately wins the award, it would be hard to argue against.

As alluded to before, with the Super Cup and La Liga titles already confirmed, a Champions League title would mean that both these players will likely lead the votes for this prestigious award. It will be an incredibly difficult decision to make, with many other players across the footballing world also in contention. But the two Madrid stars certainly are among the favourites for now.


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