Birmingham City have retired Jude Bellingham’s Number 22 shirt after the boyhood Blue played his final game for the club last night.
The Birmingham Ballack became the most expensive 17-year-old in world football by completing a move to Dortmund this week, in a move which saw his club take in £26 million.
The 17-year-old played 44 times for Birmingham City, and despite Bellingham only taking on the No 22 shirt number at the start of the season, the Championship club will retire it in an attempt to “inspire the next generation”.
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Not the way I wanted to go out. Gave everything but wasn’t to be. I can’t thank @BCFC and the academy enough for what they’ve done for me over the last 10 years. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with all the staff and all my teammates during that period of time and I owe them everything for the way they’ve helped me mature as a player and as a person. Whatever happens Birmingham City will always be my club and I will always be a blue. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to show my gratitude to the fans, who I’ve built a strong connection with over the past year, but I’m sure they know how much I love them wherever they might be. I wish the club nothing but the best for the future. It’s not a goodbye it’s a ‘see you later’. Keep Right On! Jude.?
A statement on the clubs website said: “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.”
After the club announced the decision, Bellingham tweeted: “Thank you for this great gesture, it was such a privilege to represent this club”.
Thank you for this great gesture, It was such a privilege to represent this club!? https://t.co/VeejH4jYBF
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) July 23, 2020