Football

Birmingham City Bestow Mad Honour On 17-Year Old Jude Bellingham

Birmingham City Bestow Mad Honour On 17-Year Old Jude Bellingham

Think of some of the greatest footballers ever to grace the game. There have been no shortage of absolutely incredible players down through the years, but barring a handful of exceptions, hardly any of them have had the honour of having their jersey retired by a club.

The retiring of numbers is a common occurrence in American sports, where almost every franchise has retired numbers used by their most beloved and most successful players.

In football, you hardly ever see it. That what makes this decision from Birmingham City so strange.

The club have announced that they will be retiring the number '22' in honour of Jude Bellingham, who is set to join Borussia Dortmund now that the Championship season had ended.

A strange decision in itself, but ever weirder when you consider that Bellingham is a recently turned 17-year old with 44 senior appearances under his belt.

In a statement on the club's website, Birmingham City explained the decision to take this odd step:

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In such a remarkably short space of time Jude has become an iconic figure at Blues, showing what can be achieved through talent, hard work and dedication.

His caring, humble and engaging off-the-field demeanour has also made him such an impressive role model.

The 22 shirt has become synonymous with Jude, his rise to the first team aged just 16 years and 38 days and these qualities.

And as such the club have decided it would be fitting to retire this number, to remember one of our own and to inspire others.

Bellingham became the most expensive 17-year old in the history of football with his £27million move to the Bundesliga.

He will join an illustrious list of players who have had their jerseys retired. Javier Zanetti's number four has been retired at Inter Milan, while Paolo Maldini's number three is no longer used by city rivals AC Milan.

Other examples include Bobby Moore, Pele, Diego Maradona, and Johann Cruyff being bestowed the honour at West Ham, New York Cosmos, Napoli, and Ajax respectively. Fiorentina and Cagliari also retired '13' after the tragic death of Davide Astori in 2018.

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Gary Connaughton

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