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‘I love him’: Díaz tribute to injured Bellingham

‘i-love-him’:-diaz-tribute-to-injured-bellingham
‘I love him’: Díaz tribute to injured Bellingham

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  • Alex Kirkland

  • Rodrigo Faez

Feb 13, 2024, 06:35 PM ET

Brahim Díaz praised his “world-class” teammate Jude Bellingham after scoring in Real Madrid‘s 1-0 Champions League round-of-16 first leg win at RB Leipzig on Tuesday and imitating the injured midfielder’s famous arms-outstretched goal celebration.

Díaz put Madrid ahead in the 48th minute with a stunning individual effort, running at the Leipzig defence before shooting past goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi, leading Bellingham to post “Oh my god Brahim!” on social media.

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The Spain winger paid tribute to Bellingham — who’s expected to be out of action for three weeks with a sprained ankle sustained in Madrid’s 4-0 win over Girona on Saturday — with his goal celebration, and then when speaking to the media postmatch.

“I love [Bellingham],” Díaz told Movistar. “From the first moment, we’ve got on really well. I’m helping him with his Spanish. He’s a world-class player, I enjoy playing with him. Apart from the charisma he has, he’s a great person.

“Despite the absences of Jude, who we missed, and of [Antonio] Rudiger, and all those [players] who are out injured for a long time, we keep showing that we’re a great team, that we’re Real Madrid.”

Díaz began the season struggling to break into the Madrid team after signing from AC Milan, but has become increasingly important and has now scored eight goals in all competitions.

“I got the ball, I started running and I saw they were worried about jumping in, they were backing off and I put it in the net,” Díaz said. “I’m intuitive, I wanted to give it to Vinícius [Júnior] but in the end I took the shot. It was a nice goal.”

“After two years in Milan he looks stronger, with more character,” coach Carlo Ancelotti said, when asked about Díaz. “He started the season without playing much, but when he’s got an opportunity, he’s always contributed. Today he scored a spectacular goal.”

“What did I think [before the goal]?” Ancelotti added. “Don’t lose the ball! And he didn’t!”

LaLiga leaders Madrid will now play Rayo Vallecano, Sevilla and Valencia in the league before the return leg against Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 6.

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