Bellingham ‘top’ but Modric ‘still the best’: Bjelica

Bellingham 'top' but modric 'still the best': bjelica0

Union Berlin coach Nenad Bjelica named Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham “a difference-maker” on Monday, but said veteran Luka Modric was “still the best in the world” before of the match on Tuesday.

Bellingham is back to Germany for the first time since leaving Borussia Dortmund for Madrid in the summer, having established as one of the game’s top stars.

The Englishman, who is still only 20 years old, is La Liga’s leading scorer this season with 12 goals, but the Croatian coach was well aware of all of Real’s midfield threats.

“Right now, he’s one of the best players in the world.” “He’s playing at the very highest level,” Bjelica said of Bellingham.

“We respect him, as we do every Real Madrid player.” But, as a Croatian, I believe Luka Modric is still the finest in the world.

“Bellingham is one of the biggest, he’s in great form, he scores goals, he’s a difference maker, and he’s hard to defend.” We’ll have a tough job keeping him under control tomorrow.”

Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez hailed his teammate’s effect but claimed it was “too early to compare him” to some of the game’s greats.

“What a performer… His start is promising. We wish to assist him in staying on that path for many years.

“Hopefully he can come close to what Karim (Benzema) and Cristiano (Ronaldo) did.”

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti claimed Bellingham “can improve his quality when he doesn’t have the ball” and that he “can improve his quality when he doesn’t have the ball.”

Bjelica, a former midfielder, represented Croatia nine times during a career that brought him to Spain, Germany, and Austria.

The 52-year-old began coaching in 2008 and was named manager of Union Berlin in November.

Union defeated Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 at home on Saturday, their first win in any competition since August.

Union “have a chance” against the 14-time Champions League winners, according to Bjelica, but must “deliver a perfect game.”

“Union have changed their coach and system,” Ancelotti said of Bjelica. They’re more offensive now, so it’ll be a close contest.”

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