The question was simple, rhetorical, and delivered with a blend of authority and arrogance.

When you note which club has received the most awards, the recruitment executive's choice of opening song is apropos.

Real Madrid wants Bellingham to become the best player in the world at their place.

The sales pitch for the 19-year-old is that he doesn't care where he makes the most money, but where he can become the best version of himself.

Manchester City's Phil Foden, left, fights for the ball with Dortmund's Jude Bellingham
Image: Man City are one of the teams who could move for Bellingham

Bellingham has not hidden this from potential buyers. He wants to win more and push the limits of his talent.

Bellingham's strength of character and clarity of what he expects from his career was important to him in his decision to join the club.

He was invited to an audience with Sir Alex Ferguson and given a tour of Carrington. BVB put together a plan of how they would aid his development and make him an international within two years.

He'd have European experience and a lot of minutes that other senior players would be jealous of.

From a purely football perspective, Bellingham spent months studying both clubs, as well as the others that had approached his dad. How did they use the ball and how did they react when they lost it?

Bellingham will go through the same process on a different scale because of the fee that he now commands.

As the club executive puts it, Real's charm offensive has begun and there is great seduction in becoming core to. Casemiro is gone, Luka Modric is 37, and even though he's aware he's part of the present and past, he wants to retire at the Real Madrid.

The hierarchy of Florentino Perez, Calafat and Jose Angel Sanchez want Bellingham to be the golden thread.

They pointed to Kylian Mbappe's misery this season after he snubbed them and agreed to an eye-watering extension at Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid need to freshen up their ageing all-star midfield
Image: Real Madrid need to freshen up their ageing all-star midfield

The France international was told that if he joined Real he would be in charge of the Ballon d'Or and know how it felt to own the league.

It should serve as a lesson that Mbappe chose power and a swelled bank balance over the sporting project.

Lionel Messi is a Ballon d'Or winner, but only because he was registered at the club during the 2021 edition, which recognized his exploits with Argentina and Barcelona.

In 2008, the only player who lifted the prize outside of operating for La Liga's powerhouses was Manchester United's CristianoRonaldo.

Real Madrid and Man City are likely to compete for Bellingham
Image: Real Madrid and Man City are likely to compete for Bellingham

At their neighbours City, Erling Haaland could change that number, and Real believe that the most serious threat to them is from the other side.

Perez's fears over the might of state-funded clubs is well documented, but it is not the monetary aspect that is concerning. City are well structured and have a degree of stability not associated with Real.

Two years ago, he assessed Bellingham as a fantastic player and said he was a long-term fan. When he didn't get the ball from the central defenders, he shouted and demanded that the ball be given to him at 17

Edin Terzic, his manager, told me that what you see in these two games is similar to training.

As Ilkay Gundogan's contract is up at the end of the season, Kevin De Bruyne is 31, and Bernardo Silva has explored options to leave the club in the past, City are looking for a new centre back. The importance of evolution has been emphasized by the coach.

Bellingham scored for Dortmund against Man City earlier this season
Image: Bellingham scored for Dortmund against Man City earlier this season

It's impossible to argue that Bellingham wouldn't push the boundaries of his own potential and talent at City, since he already has phenomenal chemistry with Haaland on and off the pitch.

United has never stopped looking at Bellingham. Their main priority in the summer is to add an elite forward, but they know they can compete for the best options on the market.

The England international's time in the academy of Birmingham made him the subject of a lengthy dossier by the Reds.

The side who have put in the most work behind the scenes to pierce the player's decision-making process is believed to be the Merseysiders.

"He's not on the market, so that's the first problem with that player," said Jrgen Klopp in the summer. There is only one problem with that player.

Jurgen Klopp
Image: Jurgen Klopp has also confessed that he is a fan of Bellingham's

The manager's long-term commitment to the club gave the club an extra layer of certainty and continuity.

Their lack of on-pitch identity so far this season and early worries over whether they will finish in the top four could be problematic and undermine that. Can they afford to spend a lot of money on one player when the rest of the squad needs help?

Team Bellingham is known to wade through years of research on a club to get a panorama on methodology rather than make snap decisions based on either over performance or under performance.

The teenager won't be swayed by sentiment, even though Steven Gerrard is his hero.

The way to win Jude's heart is to sell the football plan to him.

None of the fuss over Bellingham's future has been flamed by the native of the area. His displays have surpassed those of a similar age but of the game's premier players.

Bellingham has won possession more in the final third than any other player in Europe's top five divisions.


The fact that he is already a leader and craves responsibility is deeper than the data and evidence we can see.

Bellingham was overseen by Sam Manoochehri for four years as a youth development coach.

He said that he had never seen a mentality like his. He loved working with me when it was difficult. He wanted to play himself at center-half in order to see what he could do.

Jude wouldn't have to be pushed from the coaching staff if he went and sought the challenge.

Jude Bellingham
Image: Bellingham will be one of the most sought-after players in 2023

He always wanted better sessions, more feedback, and more challenges. There needs to be a constant test for him.

There is a desire to have Bellingham at a club in the top tier of English football. Real know that he can become the national team's captain and that the pull of returning home may trump the glory they can offer.

Bellingham isn't worried about his future. There is no shortage of quality destinations and clubs need to convince him why they are the best option to help him soar.