The 19-year-old England midfielder officially sealed a huge €103 million (£88m/$110m) move from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, after months of speculation which had initially included the likes of Manchester City and, more prominently, Liverpool.
However, it had been rumoured for some weeks that Bellingham would make the switch to Real, with his official unveiling on Thursday confirming his shirt number for the coming season – the iconic No.5 worn by Zidane during his five years at the club.
Bellingham will no doubt be hoping to emulate the legacy of the Frenchman in the Spanish capital, who savoured league, European and domestic cup glory with Los Blancos. But the England international will be entering a midfield already stacked full of world superstars, both young and old, meaning he faces fierce competition for places in his new home.
However, Bellingham played down comparisons with the 1998 Ballon d’Or winner, telling a press conference: “I’m not trying to be the same as him. I’m just trying to be Jude. It’s definitely a bit of homage to how great he was. As far as the 22 is concerned, it’s the number I’ve worn and means a lot to me. In my heart, I’m still a 22 but just wearing a 5 on the back. Right now I’m really happy to be given the honour of wearing this number.”
For Madrid, though, the move is a significant one, as President Florentino Perez sets about creating his next generation of Galacticos. Bellingham will be able to make his mark in that team once he has recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of Dortmund’s season finale.