England's Jude Bellingham applies for Irish passport at request of Real Madrid
The Real Madrid midfielder was eligible to play for Ireland due to his Irish grandmother.
England and Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham has reportedly applied for an Irish passport, in a move which left Irish football fans scratching their heads.
The 20-year-old, who was, at one point, eligible to represent the Boys in Green, has already amassed 24 caps for the Three Lions. However, the move has nothing to do with international football.
Instead, Bellingham's decision to apply for an Irish passport was prompted by Real Madrid, so that the Spanish giants can register the midfielder as an EU citizen and circumvent La Liga's non-EU community rule.
Jude Bellingham utilising the 'granny rule':
In La Liga, teams are only allowed to have a total of five non-EU players in their squad and just three on a match day.
By applying for an Irish passport, Bellingham would save his new club one of these valuable non-EU squad places. He qualifies for Ireland through an Irish-born grandparent.
According to The Athletic, Real Madrid received the necessary paperwork on Friday which should see their €103 million signing qualify for EU status.
The prodigious midfielder scored his first goal for Madrid since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund on Thursday. Bellingham chipped home an exquisite goal in his side's victory over Manchester United.
In exploiting the infamous 'granny rule', Bellingham would become the latest in a long line of Englishmen to bend FIFA rules to their advantage, but perhaps the first to do so in a manner such as this.
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