Ancelotti, Madrid ‘surprised’ by Bellingham’s scoring form

Carlo Ancelotti said he was “surprised” by Jude Bellingham‘s continued goal-scoring form after the Real Madrid midfielder scored twice in their 2-1 El Clásico win over Barcelona on Saturday, saying that “right now he’s the player who’s making the difference.”

Bellingham equalised from distance in the 68th minute at the Olympic Stadium — after Ilkay Gündogan had put Barca ahead in the sixth minute — before grabbing the winner in added time to leave Madrid top of the LaLiga table on 28 points.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

“He scored a stupendous goal for the first and he was smart for the second,” Ancelotti said in his postmatch news conference. “We’re surprised. Everyone is surprised by his level, and his level of efficiency up front.

“He gets into the box, but today the shot [for the first goal] surprised us, he scored a stupendous goal… Right now he’s the player who’s making the difference.”

The England star now has 10 goals in 10 league appearances this season — making him the top scorer in the division — and 13 in all competitions after netting three in the Champions League.

“He seems like a veteran, his attitude is very good,” Ancelotti said. “The equaliser changed the dynamic completely, it meant more strength for us and more weakness for Barcelona, who had played better until then.”

Bellingham’s midfield partner Luka Modric added to his boss’ praise.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Modric said. “He’s arrived and it feels like he’s been here for a long time. He’s fallen on his feet. We’re all happy with his performance, his personality, what he’s like.

“It isn’t a coincidence [what he’s doing]. He’s a top lad, an extraordinary talent. Even he can’t believe the goals he’s scoring.”

Madrid had struggled in the first half, failing to register a single shot on target.

“I told them you can lose these games but if we had to lose, we had to do it differently,” Ancelotti said when asked about his half-time team talk. “More energy, more motivation, better in the duels. From what they did in the second half, [the team] agreed with what I said.”

Ancelotti said the team shouldn’t rely on Bellingham’s goals, however, and called on forwards Vinícius Júnior — who has two LaLiga goals this season — and Rodrygo Goes — who has one — to contribute.

“20 to 25 goals, [Bellingham] can get to comfortably,” Ancelotti said. “He’s started well, but we don’t think of him as a goalscorer, we think he’s a very important player for us who’s scoring a lot of goals right now. We need goals from the forwards too.”