BELL-ON D’OR

JUDE BELLINGHAM’S El Clasico heroics have put him in pole position to take home football’s most prestigious individual prize.

The England star all but wrapped up a 36th LaLiga title for Los Blancos when he prodded home a 91st minute winner against fierce rivals Barcelona on Sunday night.

Real Madrid are now 11 points clear of the Catalan club with just six games left to play before the league campaign reaches its conclusion.

And that is in no small part thanks to the work of Bellingham and his sensational debut season in Spain.

The 20-year-old arrived at Madrid from Borussia Dortmund this summer in a deal worth £115m and he’s looked like a bargain despite the eye-watering price tag.

In his 36 appearances across all competitions this term he had found the net an astounding 21 times and assisted another 10 goals too.

As well as cruising towards a league title, he has helped Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid team book a place in the Champions League semi-final where they face Bayern Munich.

His jaw-dropping season has led to him now being listed as the FAVOURITE to win the Ballon d’Or this year.

William Hill have Bellingham as 5/2 to win the prestigious award and become the first Englishman to be honoured with the trophy since Michael Owen in 2001.

He’s ahead of some world class stars that will have to up their game if they are to catch up with Bellingham who virtually has one hand on the award as things stand.

Kylian Mbappe is second favourite at 3/1 while England teammate Harry Kane is in third spot at 4/1.

In fact England’s 23-year wait for a Ballon d’Or winner has a great chance of coming to an end this year with Phil Foden also in the running for the trophy with his odds at 7/1.

His Man City teammates Kevin de Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Rodri are also among the top 10 favourites to be bestowed with the honour despite being knocked out the the Champions League by Bellingham and his Madrid team.

With almost everyone who is tussling for the award likely to win a major club trophy this season, the deciding factor could be this summer’s Euro 2024 tournament.

Bellingham, Foden and Kane will be crucial cogs in Gareth Southgate’s England side in Germany while Rodri and Mbappe will be representing Spain and France respectively.

Stars such as Vinicuis Jr and Lionel Messi – who are also in the running – will have to hope they can pull off some magic in the US this summer for the Copa America.

While Mohamed Salah, another competitor for the award, failed to win any international silverware this season when Egypt were eliminated from Afcon in the last 16 after the winger picked up an injury – Sun.

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