Jude Bellingham ends 2023 at top of La Liga as Real Madrid overtake Girona with late win

Real Madrid were handed an early Christmas present as they earned a late 1-0 victory to take them to the top of La Liga.

Los Blancos traveled to face Alaves on Thursday evening in the knowledge that they’d needed a victory to top the table following surprise leaders Girona’s draw with Real Betis.


This could be a huge moment in the LaLiga title race
This could be a huge moment in the LaLiga title race

While Carlo Ancelotti’s side looked like they were to be held, a late Lucas Vazquez header spared their blushes and saw them leapfrog Girona to go top.

Their cause certainly wasn’t helped by the decision to send off captain Nachojust nine minutes into the second half.

The 33-year-old caught Samu Omorodion with a late and clumsy challenge, leading the referee to give him a yellow card.

However, after consulting VAR and seeing his studs catching the forward’s ankle, that booking was upgraded to a red card as Nacho saw his marching orders.

His suspension is not good news for Ancelotti, with Antonio Rudiger now his only fit defender.

This is due to David Alaba and Eder Militao being ruled out for the season with serious ACL injuries.

As a result it’s been suggested that Real Madrid could enter the market for a backup defender with Bild suggesting that a move for their former player, Man United’s Raphael Varane, could be on the cards.

A move away from Old Trafford looks increasingly likely with the French defender’s contract due to expire in the summer, meaning that a move could make sense.

Thankfully for Real Madrid, they now have just under two weeks until their next match as they take on Mallorca on January 3.

And it caps off a stellar year for Bellingham, who’s hit the ground running and then some since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in a big-money deal in the summer.

The midfielder has a brilliant return of 17 goals and five assists in 20 appearances for Los Blancos, playing a huge role in them finishing top of their Champions League group.

Bellingham’s brilliance has also seen him scoop up the Golden Boy prize this year.

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