Why Jude Bellingham isn't playing for Real Madrid against Las Palmas

  • Bellingham was booked late on in last weekend's win over Almeria
  • The 20-year-old midfielder has scored twice as many league goals as any other teammate
  • Real Madrid have not lost a game that Bellingham has missed this season
Jude Bellingham has been forced into a rare absence for Real Madrid
Jude Bellingham has been forced into a rare absence for Real Madrid / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Jude Bellingham has many qualities to praise and seems to unearth a new one each game, but his enduring availability should not be overlooked.

By the tender age of 20, Bellingham had racked up more than 14,000 minutes of senior football. For comparison, Wayne Rooney - the last English player to conjure such feverish excitement during his teenage years - only accrued 10,989 at the same point in his career.

Carlo Ancelotti didn't make his senior debut until he had already turned 20 but during four and a half decades as an elite player and manager, the Italian has certainly come across some promising young talents. Yet, even Ancelotti has been dumbstruck by the Birmingham-born midfielder. "I've never seen a player of that age make such an impact," he gushed earlier this season.

However, Real Madrid will have to take to the field against Las Palmas on Saturday afternoon without their prolific prodigy.

Why is Jude Bellingham not playing for Real Madrid against Las Palmas?

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham has been kept out of his kit this weekend / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Real Madrid fell behind at home to rock-bottom Almeria last weekend after just 39 seconds and didn't eventually take the lead until the 99th minute. Bellingham began the fightback with a second-half penalty and teed up Dani Carvajal's winner with a cushioned header from the top of an invisible staircase into the sky.

Real Madrid benefitted from three hotly disputed VAR calls but Almeria's deflated goalscorer Edgar Gonzalez wasn't entirely correct when he claimed: "Every decision went their way."

In the aftermath of Carvajal's late winner, Bellingham was booked alongside the topless goalscorer after getting involved in a needless scuffle with Almeria's Luis Suarez (not that one).

It was a suspension-inducing fifth caution in La Liga for Bellingham. Unlike the Premier League, where players have their slate wiped clean after their club's 19th league match, there is no mid-season reprieve in Spain's top flight.

Bellingham's influence on Madrid this season has been shockingly emphatic but the Spanish giants haven't struggled in his absence so far.

As Las Palmas midfielder Maximo Perrone pointed out before Madrid's trip to the Canary Islands: "They have so many players that the absence of Bellingham, a great player, will be covered by another great player."

How Real Madrid have fared without Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham has only missed a handful of matches for Real Madrid / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

After opening his Real Madrid career with five goals in his first four appearances, Ancelotti didn't dare leave out his new talisman until the fixtures began to stack up in late September.

Incidentally, the first game Bellingham missed for Madrid was also against Las Palmas. The resting midfielder watched his teammates stroll to a comfortable 2-0 win at the Bernabeu but was back in the team for the trip to high-flying Girona three days later. Bellingham duly made up for lost time by masterfully teeing up Joselu's opener before rounding off the 3-0 win with a goal of his own.

The only other occasion in which Ancelotti felt comfortable putting a fully fit Bellingham on the bench was for Real Madrid's Copa del Rey trip to fourth-tier Arandina. Arda Guler filled the void in a 3-1 win for the visitors.

Bellingham's only other enforced absence was sparked by a dislocated shoulder. Despite pushing through the pain barrier to play the full 90 minutes of a goalless draw with Rayo Vallecano after suffering the injury in the first half, Bellingham was not used for Madrid's Champions League tie against Braga (a breezy 3-0 win) and sat in the stands for the visit of Valencia.

Just a week earlier, Ancelotti had insisted that Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo would score more goals than Bellingham and Joselu this season.

"This is obvious," he shrugged. The Brazilian pair underscored their coach's faith with a brace each in a 5-1 dismantling of Valencia.

"No Bellingham, no party", the headline of Spanish sports daily Marca red ahead of the Englishman's sporadic autumn absences. That prediction has not come to pass just yet.