England star Jude Bellingham names three surprising idols with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo snubbed

England news Jude Bellingham

England news: Jude Bellingham has opened up on his early years in football

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 02/11/2023

- 14:14

The Real Madrid star has been outstanding so far this season

England star Jude Bellingham is just 20, meaning he's grown up watching Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as a youngster.

But the Real Madrid star has snubbed the duo by naming three surprising childhood heroes.

Bellingham started his career at Birmingham, dazzling for the Blues prior to joining Borussia Dortmund in 2020.

And he's now named three former players of his childhood club as his idols growing up.

Jude Bellingham Birmingham

England news: Jude Bellingham loved Birmingham players such as Craig Gardner and Lee Bowyer


"I admired the players from Birmingham, the team that won the League Cup at Wembley (in 2011)," he told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"My heroes were Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner, Lee Bowyer.

"As I got more into it myself, Dad was the most important."

Gardner, Larsson and Bowyer all started for Birmingham as they beat Arsenal in the final of the 2011 EFL Cup.

Birmingham took the lead through Nikola Zigic, with Robin van Persie then levelling for the Gunners.

But Obafemi Martins struck at the death to gift Birmingham the trophy, in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition.

The Blues were later relegated from the Premier League that year.

And they've been stuck in the Championship in the time since.

Birmingham were mocked when they retired Bellingham's shirt after his departure from the club.

But he's silenced his critics with some storming performances for Dortmund and Real Madrid in the time since.

His fine form recently saw him scoop the Kopa Trophy at the Ballon d'Or awards, with Messi taking the top prize.

He reacted to his win by saying: "I just want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point - from Birmingham to Dortmund and now Real Madrid and the national team.

"Thanks for the support, it means a lot - and more to come."

Bellingham managed to beat Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala to the award.

Pedri, Eduardo Camavinga and Gavi also made up the top five, with Xavi Simons, Alejandro Balde, Antonio Silva, Rasmus Hojlund and Elye Wahi making the list as well.

Meanwhile, Bellingham also told the publication that he didn't originally like football as a youngster.

"At the beginning I didn't like football at all," he said.

"The truth is that it's crazy to say today that if someone took this away from me I would go crazy.

"When I was a kid I used to go to training sessions and I used to pick the grass, the flowers, I used to make necklaces with the daisies to give them to my mother who was outside the field watching me.

"It was like that, really, and the best part of this whole story is that it's probably the reason why I ended up getting involved in soccer in the end.


England news Jude Bellingham

England news: Jude Bellingham is the talk of world football amid his dazzling Real Madrid displays


"My dad would take me to practice and tell me if you want to play tag, play catch or go pick flowers.

"My parents never forced me to do anything in that sense as long as I behaved well and helped others.

"I guess the world to me was the playground and they still remind me of that today."

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